Delhi has no option but to revive its lifeline “Yamuna”. Yamuna’s upstream water serves Delhi’s 70% fresh water requirement and downstream polluted water is being used for irrigation purposes which make agriculture produce highly contaminated. Though the Yamuna starts getting polluted even before it enters Delhi, but once it enters Delhi it turns into a poisonous drain. Before entering Delhi its pollution is caused by fertilizers and insecticides mixed with agriculture runoff, untreated sewage and industrial effluents. Once its water reaches Delhi, it is sucked out from the river to meet water requirement of estimated 18.6 million population of Delhi. What Delhi returns back to the river is highly polluted sewage and effluent through about 3 main drains and about 19 other drains.
Who is doing what?
In Oct 2012 the Supreme Court was informed that Central Govt. alone has spent over 1000 crore to clean the river Yamuna under Yamuna action plan. As per 2012 report of central pollution control board (CPCB) polluting stretch of Yamuna has increased from 500km to 600km. In 2010 the Yamuna’s polluted stretch was about 500km from Wazirabad in Delhi to Juhika in the rivers downstream near Etawah in Uttar Pradesh. In 2012 the data showed river started getting polluted from Panipat in Haryana, almost 100km upstream of Wazirabad. The money spent by Central Govt. and additional money spent by states didn’t yield any results.
In 2016 in a written reply in Rajya Sabha Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sushri Uma Bharti informed that National Green Tribunal (NGT) has given directions to take up cleaning of Yamuna under Maily Se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalization Plan, 2017. Accordingly, DJB has submitted priority of projects amounting to Rs. 1,969 crore to be taken up under Phase I of Maily Se Nirmal Yamuna-Revitalization Plan, 2017. These projects are as follows:
Rehabilitation of existing waste treatment plant of 182 MLD at Rithala (R2).
Rehabilitation of peripheral sewer line of Ashok Vihar and Jahangirpuri (R1a).
Rehabilitation of 1100 mm dia. twin rising mains from Bharat Nagar Sewage Pumping Station to Pitampura Chamber (R1b).
Construction of 40 MGD (182 MLD) STP and rehabilitation of existing STPs at coronation pillar (P1).
Construction of 9 no. STPs and related works (P2). Construction of 5 STPs and 2 no. STPs and related works (P3).
However, Cleaning of Rivers is an ongoing process and the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation is supplementing the efforts of the States for pollution abatement of river Yamuna, a tributary of River Ganga, by providing financial assistance to Delhi State Govt. in phased manner.
Further, under YAP Phase-III project, five components in Rithala and Kondli region Pkg R1a, R2, K3, K1, & K2 have been appraised by IIT Roorkee and recommended by ESC and further sanctioned. The details are as below:
Rehabilitation of Trunk Sewer No.4 - Pkg ‘K1’ for Rs. 87.43 crore.
Rehabilitation of Trunk Sewer No.5 – Pkg ‘K2’ for Rs. 83.40 crore.
Rehabilitation and up gradation of Kondli Phase-I STP (45 MLD), Phase-II STP (114 MLD) & Phase-III STP (45 MLD) – Pkg ‘K3’ for Rs. 239.11 crore.
Rehabilitation of Trunk Sewers – Pkg ‘R1a’ for Rs. 43.92 crore.
Rehabilitation and up-gradation of Phase-I STP (182 MLD) – Pkg ‘R2’ for Rs. 211.79 crore.
The remaining three projects under above DJB’s priority list, have been appraised by Prof. Arun Kumar of AHEC, IIT Roorkee for a total cost of Rs. 1388.23 crore and are in the process of funding.
Earlier plan did not take wholesomeness of the Yamuna river system for cleaning the Yamuna, due to insufficient engineering efforts, and also the desired result of earlier action plan were not achieved as desired due to lack of availability of fresh water in the river, especially during the lean period and a large gap between generation and treatment of sewage. In fact, there is no fresh water flow downstream of Wazirabad barrage in Delhi.
Delhi Government has to focus on providing sewer infrastructure to about 45% of the area having a population of about 5 million which is currently unsewered. Sewage of this area is being released into the open storm water ditches/drains, which finally find its way into river Yamuna. Stop outfall of untreated Industrial effluent into drains. Stop Dumping of solids in drains & river. Stop unauthorized slaughtering, Dhobi Ghat’s and industries (including polluting workshops) in residential areas. Relocate unauthorized slums from river beds. Bring in transparency and efficiency in operations of existing sewer treatment plants. Raise funds to set up decentralized sewer treatment plants and up gradation of existing infrastructure. Carry out dredging of the river and drains. Connect people and engage in bio-remediation techniques.