The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) will be liable to pay Rs 5 lakh per month as penalty if it does not complete demarcation and fencing of Yamuna floodplains, and developing bio-diversity parks there by April 2020, said an order passed by the National Green Tribunal. The NGT bench, led by chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, also directed DDA to ensure that cultivation of crops is not undertaken on the floodplains.
The directive came after the NGT-appointed Yamuna monitoring committee submitted its reports to the tribunal, regarding the status of work being done by authorities for preventing pollution of the river and rejuvenating it.
“The DDA is directed to undertake the work of restoration of floodplains so that they perform the requisite ecological functions,” the bench said. It added that an action plan with timelines has to be submitted by the DDA to the monitoring committee within a month.
A fresh deadline of December 31, 2020, has also been set for governments of Delhi, Haryana, UP and other agencies, for completing pending projects aimed at preventing pollution of the river, except in cases where an earlier deadline has been set. “Failing to do so may invite criminal prosecution,” the NGT said.
The tribunal also noted that “environmental pollution and destruction of Yamuna” is a direct consequence of haphazard growth in unauthorised colonies.
It said that in the last 20 years, unchecked expansion of unauthorised colonies has led to haphazard proliferation of vast habitations bereft of roads, drainage or sewerage. “No amount of STPs and professional management inputs, repair of drains and interception of sewage will result in making the Yamuna cleaner unless the most major among the causes of pollution are confronted,” the bench said.
It also added that laying sewer lines and drains need to be forecast and attended to well in advance to avoid the present situation in which most unauthorised colonies have no outlet for sewage.
The tribunal issued the directions while hearing an application filed by Manoj Misra, convener of the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan.