A Delhi Assembly committee last week found that a number of drains at Najafgarh — where three projects are to come up as a part of a plan by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) — have “no remaining water flow” to clean up.
The Assembly’s Estimates Committee has been probing alleged irregularities amounting to Rs 776.7 crore in three Delhi Jal Board projects — a charge the DJB has denied.
The committee had earlier cited a CPCB report which had claimed the projects to be unnecessary. The issue came up again during a meeting with Union water minister Nitin Gadkari and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Kejriwal’s decision to take up the charge of the water ministry was, according to party leaders, partly due to this ongoing probe. The construction of the STPs is a part of the Phase-1 of the ‘Maily se nirmal Yamuna revitalisation plan 2017’, taken up after directions from the NGT in 2015.
Last Sunday, sources in the committee said, a team went to inspect the drains. “The inspection took place after the Union water ministry also raised concerns about the need for the drains. The CPCB report maintains there is no need to create treatment plants in an area where the water flow is too meagre to begin with,” a source said.
“We found the drains to be having very little flow. In fact, in some case, the water flow was so little that the device meant for measuring it coudn’t even be fully submerged,” said a source. Apart from members of the committee, DJB officials were also present during the inspection.
The CPCB report presented to the NGT in 2016 says that the construction should only start after “sewer lines are laid down in these areas so that sewage can reach optimum design of STPs” and that drains intercepted from Najafgarh drain can be “linked with existing STPs for optimum operation rather than building new 14 STPs at this stage”.
It also maintained that the “development of the proposed” STPs “may take a long time (30-40 years)”. Hence the “first task of DJB or any stakeholder may be to optimise the operation of existing STPs up to the level of meeting the desired standards and to plan how to re-use treated sewage”.