Delhi

Too many cooks spoil the broth

The DDA does not own all the land along the 22-km stretch of the Yamuna in Delhi. Parts of the river's left bank, from Palla to Wazirabad, are under the Uttar Pradesh and Haryana governments. The eastern bank of the river from Loha Pul (old iron bridge) to Okhla is with the UP government.Photo: Shanker Chakravarty

The DDA does not own all the land along the 22-km stretch of the Yamuna in Delhi. Parts of the river's left bank, from Palla to Wazirabad, are under the Uttar Pradesh and Haryana governments. The eastern bank of the river from Loha Pul (old iron bridge) to Okhla is with the UP government.Photo: Shanker Chakravarty  

No coordination among agencies — each carrying out their own rejuvenation plan — is hurting the river

: Amid all the “rejuvenation” plans for the Yamuna, which have been tasked to dozens of agencies, it's ultimately the river itself which has become a “victim”.

For years, the central as well as the State governments involved have been discussing, drafting and constituting committees for the river, only to worsen the mesh of multiplicity of authority.

Apart from the slew of measures ordered by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) over a year ago, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in October last year had decided to introduce a legislation named, the Yamuna River and Flood Plain Development Bill, but nothing has happened after the announcement.

In fact, sources say the proposed bill, which was aimed at eliminating multiplicity of authorities that has contributed to the river turning into a highly polluted waterway, has been scrapped now as “it was not feasible”. The legislation was to enable the Delhi government to create a separate agency to revive the river.

The issue of rampant encroachments along the floodplains, which fall under the Delhi Development Authority's jurisdiction remains unchecked.

Here too there's a catch: the DDA does not own all the land along the 22 km stretch of the Yamuna in Delhi.

“Parts of the river's left bank, from Palla to Wazirabad, are under the Uttar Pradesh and Haryana governments. The eastern bank of the river from Loha Pul (old iron bridge) to Okhla is with the UP government,” said a DDA official. Even then, encroachments continue unabated at the floodplains which are with the DDA.

Besides, the Flood and Irrigation Department of the Delhi government is also largely dissatisfied with the lack of quick response from the neighbouring states. “There are three barrages on the Yamuna as it meanders across the eastern side of Delhi. The Wazirabad Barrage is under the Delhi government, the ITO barrage is with the Haryana government and the one at Okhla is under the UP government. During peak rainy season, synchronising flood control with the other two States becomes a real challenge. And all this we need to do even after the river flows totally within our city,” said an official from the department.

Adding to the woes is the multiple parallel planning which have been going on for years without any coherence with each other. Multiple agencies are now working “to revive the Yamuna” - there is the Unified Centre for Rejuvenation of River Yamuna under L-G Najeeb Jung; then there is also a Special Purpose Vehicle, a legal entity created in August last year with participation from Centre and the Aam Aadmi Party government, to fulfil specific objectives. The blueprint for the project was to be prepared in the next 45 days, but the same has not been done even as seven months have passed.

The municipal corporations claim to have challaned around 700 people for dumping “debris” on the banks, but complain that full enforcement of the same is not possible as it is not mandated to impound those throwing “wastes”.

At the same time, the Delhi Jal Board, which is responsible for treating sewage that flows into the river, rues of not having received enough funds to build “new” Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs).

This, despite the fact that the water utility currently is treating only 450 MGD of sewage out of the city’s installed capacity of 650 MGD.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 2:47:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/too-many-cooks-spoil-the-broth/article8403792.ece

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