A committee appointed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to monitor the Yamuna river cleaning operation has regretted that the response of the Uttar Pradesh authorities in this regard has been “highly unsatisfactory”.
NGT chairperson Justice A K Goel had set up the committee in July to monitor the cleaning of the river. The panel comprises former Delhi chief secretary Shailaja Chandra and retired expert member B S Sajwan.
The monitoring committee said with “utmost regret” that the response of Uttar Pradesh from the time the order dated July 26 was passed by the tribunal has been “highly unsatisfactory” despite repeated letters to the state chief secretary, followed up by phone calls to his office.
“The secretary of environment and forests department, UP, was told over the phone on two occasions what was needed (to be done to clean up the Yamuna),” the monitoring committee said in its report submitted to the National Green Tribunal.
“The monitoring committee for the state was constituted only on October 17 comprising serving engineers which not only creates a conflict of interest but is contrary to the orders of the tribunal which had ordered constitution of a full-time monitoring committee,” it said.
The panel also said there needs to be clarity on the demarcation of the floodplain between UP and Delhi.
It said the issues of floodplain demarcation and rejuvenation was discussed in a meeting with the principal secretary of Uttar Pradesh and Delhi Development Authority representatives on November 1.
Following that meeting, the state of Uttar Pradesh submitted maps delineating the floodplain, its present status, encroachments and the land allotted to different departments and the extent of the floodplain involved in litigation, the report stated.
This was discussed further in a meeting with officials of the irrigation and flood control department on September 27, it said.
“It was found that a vast area is under litigation between the government of UP and DDA and over 200 cultivators and has been in the lower court for over 25 years with dates being given,” the monitoring committee said in the report.
“Neither authorities seemed to have any interest in the matter and the DDA representatives even gave wrong information most empathically to the monitoring committee which was later rescinded by other wings of the DDA thus wasting time and creating confusion,” it said.