The government is likely to give its approval soon for the ambitious Rs 1,656 crore Yamuna Action Plan-III, which is exclusively focused on Delhi, to solve the problem caused by pollution in the river, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh today said.

“The project is funded by the Japanese Government. We will be getting the approval of the Union Cabinet in next couple of weeks. Under the Yamuna Action Plan-III, the existing sewage treatment network in Delhi will be modernised in a very big way,” he said.

Mr. Ramesh was talking to reporters here after a meeting with Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and her Haryana counterpart Bhupinder Singh Hooda on the measures to be taken to clean the Yamuna.

In order to put an end to the daily controversy between Delhi and Haryana on the issue of pollution of the Yamuna, he said the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) will install continuous water quality monitoring stations at Palla and at Badarpur.

“There will be continuous monitoring of water pollution at Palla, where Yamuna enters Delhi from Haryana and there will be similar monitoring at Badarpur where Yamuna flows from Delhi back to into Haryana,” Mr. Ramesh said.

The first one was already being installed in Wazirabad today, the Minister said.

Mr. Ramesh said during his meeting with Hooda and Dikshit, it was also decided to solve the problem caused by pollution in the Yamuna at Panipat.

He said the sewage treatment capacity at Panipat was insufficient and the effluent treatment plants are not working to full capacity.

“There is common effluent treatment plant in Panipat. Though 512 units have to be connected to that common effluent treatment plant, only 35 have been connected so far,” Mr. Ramesh said.

He said the Environment Ministry will support further expansion of sewage treatment capacity and effluent treatment capacity if it is required at Panipat so that there is no infiltration of waste water into the Yamuna when the river flows from Haryana to Delhi.

“This will be funded by the MoEF as part of its national river conservation programme. In next couple of week, this proposal will be finalised,” he added.

The Minister said 47 per cent of Delhi’s population is not covered by any organised sewerage network and this situation will continue till the completion of Yamuna Action Plan-III in 2015.

“That is the big challenge. We have 26 drains that are now putting untreated sewerage directly into the river Yamuna. Today we reviewed the progress. And I am afraid that this situation will continue till the end of 2015,” he said.

Later, Ms. Dikshit said that the Yamuna is polluted despite her government’s concerted efforts to clean it.

The Chief Minister said the city government will make its best efforts to clean the river in coordination with the Centre.

“I admit that Yamuna is polluted. We have been making efforts to clean it. We will put our best efforts to clean the river with cooperation from the Union Government,” she said.

In the meeting, sources said, she sought more funds from the central government for efforts to cut down pollution in the Yamuna and also requested Haryana not to release industrial effluents into the river.

Ms. Dikshit told the Haryana Chief Minister that Delhi Jal Board had to shut down two of its major water treatment plants in the city several times due to high ammonia level in Yamuna water caused by release of industrial waste by his State.

Ms. Dikshit requested him to set up effluent treatment plants in places where industrial waste flows into the river.

Several areas in the city faced water shortage on many occasions in the last two months after DJB had to close down Chandrawal and Wazirabad water treatment plants due to high ammonia level in the Yamuna.

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