Environment experts had been saying it all through, activists had been pointing it out for a long time and Delhiites knew it better as they see the polluted Yamuna day in and day out. The Performance Audit of Water Pollution in India by the Comptroller and Auditor General (Report 21 of 2011-12) has confirmed it.
None of the projects to control pollution in the Yamuna, which were checked by the CAG audit team, has achieved their objective, the report concluded. The pollution control mechanism was not functional and no details were available for monitoring the projects sanctioned under the National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) for the control of pollution in the Yamuna for all projects, the report pointed out.
In Delhi, 10 projects, all related to control of pollution in the Yamuna, were tested. The nodal agency for the NRCP is the Delhi government, while the implementing agencies are the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) and Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).
According to the report, four sewage treatment plants (STPs) were built for a certain capacity, but the actual sewage generated in respective areas was much more, resulting in several million litres of untreated sewage flowing directly into the river.
One STP was constructed for treating 2 MLD (million litres per day), but the plant is shut since 2007, leading to discharge of untreated sewage in Yamuna. One test-checked STP of 135 MLD capacity was sanctioned in June 2006 and was scheduled to be completed in June 2010. But it was incomplete by the time the report was prepared. Delhi STP projects also topped the list of cost overruns and not meeting the list of deadlines.
“It is not about creation of (right) capacity. There is so much of unplanned growth,” said Ramesh Negi, CEO of DJB, defending the low capacity for an STP unit. “Only 60% of Delhi has sewer network, while 40% is un-serviced. The unauthorised colonies are bound to add to sewage at any STP,” he said, adding, “The trunk sewers, too, are almost 40 years old. Work for its rehabilitation is going on.”
Negi assured that the interceptor sewer programme under the Yamuna Action Plan would help in improving the situation.
Delhi generates approximately 600 million gallons per day (MGD) of sewage, while it has an installed capacity to treat approximately 512.4 MGD wastewater. DJB is in the final stage of preparing the Delhi Sewerage Masterplan (SMP) 2031.