Ahead of the festive season, Delhi government has decided to strictly impose a fine of Rs 5,000 on those spotted polluting the Yamuna by throwing waste or puja offerings in it. National Green Tribunal (NGT) had in January passed a slew of directions in this regard, cracking the whip on those polluting the river. Among its directions was a fine of Rs 5,000 on individuals "spotted throwing waste or religious items in the river".
The decision was taken at a recently-held high-level meeting, chaired by Delhi environment minister Asim Ahmed Khan, with officials from DPCC, municipal corporations, environment department and irrigation and flood control department.
"MCD, police and DPCC officials will have power to penalise people, who are found throwing religious items in the river, with Rs 5,000. It was also decided to erect barricades and mesh near nine temporary ghats along Yamuna. People will be asked to deposit their religious items at the designated places near ghats and if they do not comply with, we will strictly deal with them," a senior official told PTI.
The government has also decided to approach as many as 100 Durga and chhath puja committees across the capital and request them to collectively deposit waste or puja offerings at the ghats created by the flood and irrigation department.
Sources said that this is the first time that the government has decided to "strictly" execute the green court's direction by imposing the fine of Rs 5,000.
"The deposited items, including idols, at designated places, will be taken out by the staff of municipal corporations so that people are able to immerse religious items. Delhi Police has also been asked to deploy its personnel in good numbers near ghats so that nobody can throw such items," a source said.
Earlier this week, the NGT had banned immersion of idols made from non-biodegradable material like quick-setting gypsum plaster, also known as plaster of Paris, or plastic in the Yamuna.