A parliamentary panel has noted that Yamuna river seems “dirtier” than before despite Rs 6,500 crore having been spent on its clean-up even as a project to lay interceptor sewers along the three major drains of Delhi suffers delays. In its latest report, the Standing Committee on Urban Development has asked the ministry to expedite the interceptor sewers project to save Yamuna and “sustain its ecology” while observing that the river seems dirtier than before even though Rs 6,500 crore has been spent on cleaning it.
Interceptor sewers along the major drains of the city are crucial for curbing pollution of the Yamuna as they would keep untreated sewage from flowing into the river. The Urban Development Ministry has sanctioned a project under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) for laying of interceptor sewers in Delhi. The project is under implementation now. Noting that a high-powered committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of the Delhi Lt Governor, of which the UD Ministry, too, is a part, the 31-member parliamentary panel headed by JD(U) MP Sharad Yadav, said, “By now, the Yamuna’s waters – polluted and black – should have been cleaner. However, that has not happened.”
The committee observed that the project under JNNURM for laying interceptor sewers along the three major drains – Najafgarh, Supplementary and Shahadara – was approved by the Centre on May 19, 2010, at a cost of Rs 1,357.71 crore and additional central assistance commitment of Rs 475.20 crore. However, according to the report, till January, 2013, there has been 35 per cent physical progress with financial utilisation of Rs 136 crore only.
The committee said that the laying of interceptor sewers along the three major drains should be expedited at all levels so that sewage is treated according to the norms of central and state pollution control boards before being discharged into the Yamuna. The committee was of the opinion that treatment of sewage is a must “so that the Yamuna river bank can be developed rather than it turning into a garbage dumping site”.