The Delhi Jal Board’s ambitious interceptor sewer project that is aimed at giving the Yamuna a new lease of life is still awaiting the release of funds, but a delegation of officials headed by Delhi Urban Development Minister A.K. Walia is all set for a visit to Bangkok and the United Kingdom to study how successful the method has been in the two places.

Both Bangkok and the United Kingdom have had interceptor sewers constructed on the major rivers to save them from being infused with filth and sewage. The DJB while planning the Rs.1,400 crore project for the city had cited both Bangkok and the Thames model (in the United Kingdom) as examples worth emulating.“The delegation which includes Dr. Walia, DJB Chief Executive Officer Ramesh Negi, an Urban Development Ministry additional secretary and a senior Jal Board official will visit the two place at the end of this month. They will study how the interceptor sewers have been established, run and maintained,” said an official. He said both Thames and Bangkok models were studied by the consultants who drew up the detailed project report for the project. “The Bangkok Municipal Administration claims that the interceptor sewer has been a success. And since Bangkok and Delhi are similar in terms of load and density of population, the Jal Board is hopeful that it will work just as well in Delhi. Interceptor sewers were installed in Thames way back in 1860 and they have been working well. The technique has also been tried and tested in California and recently in Sabarmati in Gujarat,” the official said.The Ring Road Trunk Sewer that was built in 1950s, the official said, is another example of an interceptor sewer’s feasibility and efficiency. “The Ring Road Trunk Sewer has now become defunct, and work has been initiated to refurbish it. Of Delhi’s 17 drains, this sewer trapped 14 and prevented the infusion of sewage and other refuse into the Yamuna,” the official explained. Referring to the DJB’s long wait for funds, he said: “There is a lot of money required for the project.

The Jal Board needs Rs.700 crore for operation and maintenance and another Rs.1,400 crore for civil construction.

The Jal Board has been sanctioned Rs. 350 crore under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, a loan of Rs.800 crore will be raised from the Housing and Urban Development Corporation Limited (HUDCO) and the Delhi Government will sanction another Rs.250. But it will take time for this money to be released.” According to the official, work on the project is expected to start only in 2010.