National Green Tribunal on Tuesday rapped Delhi Jal Board (DJB) for spending money on Yamuna without its permission, observing that despite spending heavily, the pollution level in the river has become worse.
The green panel took exception to the fact that despite its specific directions, which restrained DJB from spending without prior approval of the Tribunal, the board has incurred expenses on drain related works.
“Despite heavy expenditure, in thousands of crores, having been incurred, pollution level in river Yamuna has, in fact, become more worse. We had passed clear directions that out of planned expenditure no amount other than for maintenance purposes would be spent by DJB. It is told that some amount has been spent for drain integration. Let notice be issued to chief engineer of DJB who will file an affidavit stating if any amount has been spent in violation to our orders. The affidavit should be filed within one week from today,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.
During the proceedings, CEO of DJB told the bench that expenditure on drain integration work was carried out in pursuance to orders of the Delhi High Court.
To this, the bench said, “You are frustrating the whole project ‘Maily Se Nirmal Yamuna’ Revitalization Plan, 2017 as well as our judgement. We had clearly said that you will seek our permission iefore doing anything. Why did you not inform HC about our order? You have your own philosophy. People are suffering. Your department is busy giving execuses.”
NGT also constituted committee comprising member secretary of Central Pollution Control Board and Delhi Pollution Control Committee, chief engineer of DJB and Delhi Development Authority and professor R Kosa from IIT-Delhi.
It directed this team to submit report on the actual discharge from each drain that joins Yamuna and the measure load on points where Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) are sought to be constructed under Phase-I of the judgement (Najafgarh drain to Delhi Gate drain).
“The committee shall collect samples from the drains and near STPs. The report will not be restricted to chemical oxygen demand (COD), Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and ph levels but also analyse all parameters including metals, insecticides, pesticides and other compounds,” the bench said, adding that collected samples would be analysed at CPCB lab and IIT-Delhi.
It also directed DDA to file minutes of meetings held in the presence of its Vice-Chairman, CEO and Chief Engineer of DJB and others where all technical aspects of the cleaning work were considered.
The directions came as the green panel monitored the implementation of its ‘Maili se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalisation Project’.
In November last year, the Tribunal had restrained DJB from spending on river Yamuna without prior approval till the judgement is passed on the issue, after it was informed that over Rs 900 crore has been spent for cleaning the river.