The National Green Tribunal has granted “one final opportunity” to authorities in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, including the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation and the Delhi Development Authority, to file comprehensive affidavits on the extent of debris deposited on the banks of the Yamuna.
A Bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar passed an order on Tuesday instructing the Chief Secretaries of both the States to personally file the affidavits within two weeks. The Central Public Works Department and the three Municipal Corporations of North, South and East Delhi are among those asked to submit detailed affidavits. The Tribunal was hearing a petition filed by Manoj Misra of the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan, who has opposed the dumping of debris and construction waste on the banks of the river.
“The affidavits filed before us do not apparently depict the correct state of affairs. None of the affidavits filed by any of the Corporations or authorities state that they or their contractors have thrown any debris on the bank of the Yamuna and ... that debris/construction material are lying on the banks of the Yamuna, which is an undisputed fact,” stated the order.
The authorities have been asked to file detailed affidavits stating the extent of debris/construction material/deposits thrown by them on the banks of the river, how much it has been removed by each of these authorities and upon removal where such debris had been stored or dumped. The affidavits should also state whether any such site has been earmarked for dumping and what was its capacity for accepting such a high level of dumping.
“It is also brought to our notice that the concrete and construction debris mixed with MSW (municipal solid waste) are thrown on the river bank, which should be stopped forthwith. Thus, we direct that no MSW or MSW mixed with construction debris and other waste material shall be thrown on the river bank of the Yamuna,” noted the order.
Earlier, the NGT had also set up a high powered committee chaired by the Secretary (Environment) that found that 37,000 cubic metres of debris/construction material was lying on the eastern bank of the river while 53,000 cubic metres had been deposited on its western bank between Nizamuddin Bridge and Batla House.
“The Secretary, MoEF – before whom the DDA has filed the beautification plan – has stated that they shall invite comments of the public authorities, and if necessary would also consult the Director, IIT-Delhi, for the purpose and give final site plan before the next date of hearing to the Tribunal,” added the order. The next hearing is scheduled for May 23.