Three years in the making, the first package of the Delhi Jal Board’s 59-km-long interceptor sewer was inaugurated on Monday by Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu.
The Minister also inaugurated a decentralised water treatment plant and five dispensing machines or ‘ATMs’ that supply clean water to residents in Dwarka at Rs.7.50 for 20 litres through pre-paid smartcards. Residents can get 20 litres at Rs.4 if they go to the filtration plant directly. The plant and ATMs are run by the DJB and Sarvajal.
Speaking at the inauguration in Dwarka, Mr. Naidu said: “Two important tasks have been started here today. One is to clean the Yamuna by preventing sewage from entering it and the other is to give clean drinking water to all.”
The interceptor sewer, which will be completed by June 2015, runs along the three major drains of the city that carry the majority of sewage. The sewer is being laid through micro-tunnelling along the Najafgarh, Shahdara and Supplementary drains. The Rs.1,962-crore project is expected to cut pollution in the Yamuna in Delhi by 70 per cent.
About 69 per cent of the work on the interceptor, which was launched by the then Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in 2011, has been completed. The first of six packages traps around 10 million gallons per day (MGD) of discharge from the Palam drain at Pappankalan and takes it to a new pumping station in Dwarka. The sewage is then conveyed to a treatment plant, from where it is discharged or recycled as treated effluent for horticulture etc.
Meanwhile, Mr. Naidu acknowledged the importance of the water ATM scheme. He said: “We know that everyone cannot afford to buy mineral water. We want these water ATMs all over Delhi.”
The project had started with 15 water ATMs in Sawda Ghevra, a resettlement colony in North-West Delhi, last year. Currently, 1,000 families are using the affordable drinking water scheme there.
“We are working on such ATMs in nine other locations and these are expected to be complete in three months. We are hoping to have 80-90 ATMs by March and another 400 in a year,” said DJB CEO Vijay Kumar.
Among those who attended the inauguration were Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan, West Delhi MP Parvesh Verma and Matiala MLA Rajesh Gehlot.