The action plan to clean the Yamuna, that the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) submitted to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) last week, will be in three phases — construction of 15 new sewage treatment plants (STPs) and laying 130 km of trunk sewer lines, completing the interceptor sewage project and upgrading and rehabilitating existing sewerage lines.
The DJB had previously told the NGT that this plan — which is the first phase of the NGT’s “Maili se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalisation Project 2017” — will cost Rs 3,659 crore. Of this, the first phase will cost Rs 1,666 crore, the second Rs 1,390 crore and the third Rs 603 crore.
The NGT had also ordered that “every household generating sewage in Delhi” to pay environmental compensation, irrespective of whether or not they have a sewerage connection, to fund the project.
“In the first category, our focus will be on constructing the 15 new STPs and setting up a few sewage pumping stations along with laying down the trunk sewer lines. Second, the interceptor sewage project and other related projects will be completed. Almost 74 per cent of this project is nearing done and the entire scheme is likely to be finished by 2016. In the third category, upgradation and rehabilitation work of the existing sewerage lines will be done,” a senior DJB official said.
In the past, the DJB’s efforts of upgrading their existing technology has repeatedly been hit by lack of funds and constraints with regard to land. These might prove to be the biggest challenge in constructing the new STPs, officials said.
In its order, the NGT had directed authorities to ensure that land is acquired for the construction of new infrastructure. “We have identified land in 11 locations. Of this five are owned by the gram sabha, two are owned by privates parties and the gram sabha, while three are privately-owned. In one case, we own land near the coronation pillar where a 40 MGD plant is to be built over the Supplementary Drain,” the official said.
While the DJB said the second phase is likely to finish on time, questions have already been raised over the direction to ensure that STPs are working to an optimal level in a month. “These are old plants. How can they work optimally? Also, there is lack of a conveyance system. We are unable to bring all the sewage to the destination,” an DJB official said.
The biggest challenge in the third phase will be the extent of habitation and development. “There are a number of settlements that have come up which makes it very difficult to lay new lines. We plan to use trenchless technology to overcome this hurdle,” the official said.
The DJB has also approached the Union Ministries of Water Resources, Urban Development and Delhi government for funds.