NGT bans open defecation on Yamuna banks, imposes Rs 5000 fine | delhi news | Hindustan Times
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NGT bans open defecation on Yamuna banks, imposes Rs 5000 fine

NGT has said that the day is not far when Yamuna in Delhi will be clean for bathing on auspicious days.

delhi Updated: Jul 20, 2017 11:10 IST
Joydeep Thakur
NGT observed that nearly 67% of the pollution in the Yamuna will be cleaned after two years once 14 Sewage Treatment Plants come up by 2019.
NGT observed that nearly 67% of the pollution in the Yamuna will be cleaned after two years once 14 Sewage Treatment Plants come up by 2019.(AFP Photo)

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday banned open defecation and dumping of waste on the Yamuna floodplains and directed the authorities, including Delhi police, to impose a fine of R 5,000 on violators.

“No waste of any kind and open defecation will be permitted in and around any water body and on the floodplains of the river Yamuna. The authorities, including police, would take stringent action against defaulting persons. Wvery defaulter would be liable to pay an environmental compensation of R 5,000 per incident,” the bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by environmentalist Manoj Misra, who said the green body should monitor the ‘Maili se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalisation Project 2017’.

Cleaning India’s dirtiest river
The Yamuna enters Delhi at Palla and leaves at Jaitpur. Delhi contributes maximum poillution to the river, which takes care of 70 per cent of the Capital’s water needs. Most of the river’s stretch in Delhi is just sewage.
No life possible in Yamuna
Total coliform (MPN per 100 ml water) at ten most polluted river water monitoring stations in India
5,000 MPN total coliform per 100 millilitres (CPCB limit for bathing quality water)
       Coliform bacteria indicate the potential presence of disease-causing bacteria in water


How NGT plans to clean the Yamuna
Rs 5,000 Fine to be imposed on those found defecating in floodplains
Rs 50,000 Fine for dumping any material in and around Yamuna. It was mentioned in an earlier order
14 Treatment plants to tackle sewage from Najafgarh and Delhi Gate drains
  • No construction/coverage of any drains in Delhi
  • DDA to prepare a map to demarc ate the entire flood plain with highest flood level once in last 25 years since 2014

Why it will be difficult for authorities to enforce no defecation on floodplain
  • The police will have to keep an eye on more than 11,000 acres of flood plain which would require a large number of personnel
  • Would be difficult to prove in court who defecated where
  • Could lead to corruption as those caught might try to bribe officials to escape penalty
  • People might not be able to pay the amount as those who defecate in open are poor
Why it may work
  • Even if one person is penalised, it will send out a stern message
  • There are public toilets on both sides of the Yamuna
  • DDA has also set up mobile toilets in some areas to stop people from defecating in open

The direction evoked mixed responses from activists, experts and government authorities who pointed at practical problems they might face while implementing the order. Some, however, sounded optimistic.

“The floodplains over the 22-km stretch between Wazirabad and Okhla sprawls over more than 11,000 acres. There is no fixed time for defecation and dumping of waste. How will it be possible for the authorities to keep a watch?” asked an environment activist.

The experts said that while on the one hand it would be difficult for police to prove in court who has defecated and where, it could also lead to corruption and false cases.

“It is only the poor and people in the lowest rung of the society who defecate in the open. How would they pay R 5,000? This could lead to corruption as cops might let off the violators charging lesser amounts,” said an expert who didn’t want to be named.

Shortage of manpower would also be a hindrance, police said. There are around 77,000 police personnel for Delhi’s population of around 1.67 crore – one cop for every 216 persons. But only around 25,000 personnel are posted at police stations.

A police official said: “This is a social problem. There are thousands of homeless people at ISBT near the Yamuna banks. They have no option but to go to the river banks.”

A section of activists and officials, however, claimed that though it might seem difficult, the order can be implemented if executed in the right manner and right intent.

“We have about a dozen night shelters on the Yamuna bed and all have toilet facilities in it. Even the slums around the Yamuna have toilets. If needed, we can construct more toilets to stop open defecation,” said an official of Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB). DUSIB is constructing toilets across Delhi to end open defecation.

The experts pointed out that if a few people are arrested from some areas, then the message would spread and would act as a deterrent for others.

“We will stop them from doing it as ordered by our seniors. Issuing fines in the next few days may act as a deterrent initially,” said a police officer.

DCP Madhur Verma, Delhi police spokesperson, said, “We are yet to receive a copy of order but after receiving it, it will be followed in letter and spirit.”