Observing that the presence of a 2-km-long “contaminated water body” in Tughlaqabad was “absolutely unacceptable”, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the authorities to take “urgent remedial measures”.
The court of Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul directed officials of the Delhi Pollution Control Board (DPCB), DDA and DJB to convene a meeting by December 10 and submit a report on possible remedial measures by the next date of hearing on December 24.
The direction was issued after the DDA and DJB failed to answer the court’s queries on which agency was responsible for cleaning up the toxic water body.
A PIL was filed earlier this year by local resident Manoj Kumar, claiming that toxic water had accumulated to create an “artificial lake” in the area which was “killing birds, animals and people”. Earlier, the court had directed civic agencies to consider measures to clean up the water.
The water body begins at the southern tip of Tughlaqabad village, adjacent to a slum occupied mostly by migrants, flows under the Tughlaqabad Fort’s outer wall and into the low-lying DDA forest land on the other side. The water has submerged a number of trees in the area.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests, in the last hearing, told the court that the contaminant levels in the water were “much higher than acceptable levels”.
“It is an admitted position that the water is badly contaminated. This is unacceptable,” the court said, adding that “remedial measures need to be taken urgently, as the water is harmful not only for human population, but also for flora and fauna and causes soil contamination in the area”.
The court directed that a meeting be held among officials concerned “to prepare a roadmap of the remedial measures”. The court also asked for a layout plan of the area along with an aerial or satellite image to ascertain the source of the water trickling into the water body.