Delhi Lieutenant General VK Saxena on Tuesday chaired the third meeting of the High-Level Committee constituted by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for cleaning and rejuvenation of the Yamuna.
The meeting saw deliberations on the progress made on this front so far.
At its third meeting on Tuesday, the panel members deliberated on the progress made on cleaning up the Yamuna while flagging lacunaes or shortfalls, if any.
“The meeting, held in the open at Asita East, developed on the floodplains of the Yamuna by DDA (Delhi Development Authority), was a testimony to the efforts being undertaken to clean the Yamuna and their success so far,” stated an official release.
Addressing officers, the Lt. Governor said, “We owe it to our future generations. We have to hand over a clean Yamuna to our children, a Yamuna that our forefathers had inherited.”
“While works on various fronts and agenda are being undertaken in a time-bound manner in a bid to achieve our concrete goals by 30.06.2023, when the NGT will take stock of the improvements made, the biggest roadblock and challenge being faced was in terms of the desilting of approximately 200 kms of trunk/ peripheral sewer lines,” the L-G said.
Further, according to the official release, “The gross inaction and neglect on part of the Delhi Jal Board (DJB), which had not undertaken any desilting/cleaning work for the past 8-10 years, resulted in the sewer lines getting choked. Now that the desilting exercise has started after the first meeting of the HLC, it was coming to light that the sewer lines were choked upto 80-90 per cent than the earlier expected 40-50 per cent. Apart from sewage waste that is meant to go into the sewer lines, they were choked with boulders, municipal solid waste, etc. due to manholes being left open and unattended.”
“While 90.34 kms of sewer lines were projected to be cleaned by June 2023, the remaining 110 kms were expected to be cleaned by September 2023. The LG directed officials to take up the desilting work in a mission mode and complete it within the stipulated timeframe,” it read.
It came out further during the meeting that even though pollution levels on various parameters in the Yamuna had gone down during the last 2-3 months, especially due to interventions in the Najafgarh drain, pollution levels in the river had gone up during the last 5-6 years, if one discounts the two years affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The L-G described the task at hand to be “difficult due to legacy neglect, but yet achievable”.
He exhorted officials to ensure the implementation of the decisions taken on Tuesday on mission-mode, without extending committed timelines.
Saxena also asked the officers to work with “seamless coordination and break departmental silos in dealing with issues of public interest’.
The meeting was attended by senior officers of the stakeholder departments/agencies of the Union government and GNCTD, which included the chief secretary, DG (NMCG), additional secretary (MoE&F), GoI, divisional commissioner, chairman, DPCC, principal secretary (I&FC), VC (DDA), Commissioner (MCD), PCCF, GNCTD, CEO (DJB) and CMD (DSIIDC) and all district magistrates (DMs), among others.