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City anchor: SC poser on Yamuna: Where has all the money gone?

Noting that the Yamuna remains polluted despite crores being spent on cleaning the river,the Supreme Court on Tuesday sought a response from all stakeholders on “what fruitful purpose has been achieved” after putting in so much money.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi |
October 31, 2012 1:47:39 am

Noting that the Yamuna remains polluted despite crores being spent on cleaning the river,the Supreme Court on Tuesday sought a response from all stakeholders on “what fruitful purpose has been achieved” after putting in so much money.

“Where has all this money gone? We don’t see any improvement in the water of the river… what is the use of this money,” asked the bench of Justices Swatanter Kumar and Madan B Lokur,underlining that nearly Rs 12,000 crore had been spent in the last 18 years by the Centre,Delhi,Haryana and Uttar Pradesh governments and their civic bodies.

The bench asked Additional Solicitor General P P Malhotra to place before it by November 9 the Yamuna River Action Plan and any other plan,if formulated,to clean the river by resorting to correctional and preventive measures.

“The Union of India shall also inform the court whether the Yamuna River Development Authority,constituted by a notification in 2007,is still in place and operational. It shall also inform what steps have been taken by this authority and the extent of compliance,” the bench said,also directing that the minutes of the Authority be placed before it.

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The bench expressed dismay at the disclosure that as many as 18 drains from Delhi discharged untreated or semi-treated waste and other effluent into the Yamuna. The court was told that a prime reason for the problem was the existence of unauthorised and irregular colonies in Delhi,which indiscriminately dumped waste into the river directly or into drains that released water into the Yamuna.

The bench sought to know the status of the sewage treatment plants (STPs) and their capacity to treat water at different release points in Delhi. It asked the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to set up a two-member committee to check the efficacy of the 18 STPs operational in Delhi after visiting the sites.

The bench asked the CPCB to submit a separate report as to how many STPs were working to optimal capacity and on steps to prevent the release of untreated effluent and domestic discharge into the river or main drains.

Earlier,affidavits by the governments of Delhi and UP revealed that they had spent Rs 4,124 crore on making the river’s water potable. New Delhi Municipal Council and Municipal Corporation of Delhi spent an additional Rs 315 crore on cleaning the Yamuna while DJB said it had spent approximately Rs 2,072 crore. Together,the two states and the two civic bodies spent Rs 4,439 crore in the last 18 years.

The affidavit by the Union government on Tuesday disclosed that it had spent more than Rs 1,540 crore on different phases of Yamuna Action Plan and JNNURM till June 2012. The DDA spent around Rs 30 crore for development of land along the river.

Money goes down the river

Rs 12,000 cr spent to clean the river in the past 18 years

Rs 4,439 cr spent by Delhi,UP

Rs 30 cr spent by DDA to develop land along the river

18 drains in Delhi discharge untreated water into the river

18 sewage treatment plants to be checked by 2-member panel

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