Even as they exchange jibes and letters over a series of endless tiffs, the Centre and Delhi government seem to be on the same page on one issue — the quest for a cleaner Yamuna.
Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who met at the Delhi Secretariat on Saturday, have joined hands to prepare a blueprint for the clean-up and rejuvenation of Yamuna in the next 45 days.
“The minister and Kejriwal agreed to set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to clean-up and rejuvenate the Yamuna. It has been agreed to prepare a blueprint for this purpose during the next 45 days,” said a senior official.
Bharti has also agreed to Kejriwal’s request to convene a joint meeting on the issue with Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu and Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari.
The two leaders discussed the beautification of areas located on the banks of the Yamuna, along the lines of the development of Sabarmati bank in Gujarat. “We want to develop the Yamuna bank, with tourism destinations in mind,” Bharti said.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has also undertaken a similar endeavor to clean the river, with its ‘Maili Se Nirmal Yamuna’ Revitalisation Project, 2017’.
“The formation of such a body is a desirable development, though we’ll have to see what the mandate of such a body is. There has never been a dedicated body to look at the preservation of the river, barring the Yamuna River Development Authority, which in itself was a temporary creation,” said Mishra.
Along with the CM, minister-in-charge of the Delhi Jal Board Kapil Mishra and senior officials from the Centre and state government were present at the meeting.
Such a meeting with Union ministers is important since the concerned ministries or departments would have to “work together to clean the historic river and revive its past glory”, said Kejriwal.
“Unlike the former governments, both the CM and the Union minister sound committed to the task. It is just a matter of 45 days and not of years. We will beautify the Yamuna bank as well. We are confident that a joint effort will lead to a clean Yamuna, an issue which has been pending since decades,” said Mishra.