The Delhi Jal Board’s plan to clean the Yamuna is yet to find any takers. Funding remains a problem for the first-of-its-kind comprehensive strategy for sprucing up the highly polluted river.
Officials in charge of the project say the initiative will help restore the ecological value of the Yamuna and attract visitors to the riverfront.
“Involving several agencies, this project is expected to take about two years and cost over Rs 6,000 crore. However, we are yet to receive any green signal in terms of funding commitment. We are in the process of creating a detailed plan,” said a Delhi government official who did not want to be named.
In May, Delhi water minister Kapil Mishra led a delegation of officers from the DJB to present this plan to union water minister Uma Bharti. However, there has been not much progress in terms of funding, the official said.
“The Yamuna enters Delhi near Palla and traverses a distance of about 48km. The 22-km stretch from Wazirabad to Okhla is only 2% of the river’s length, but 70% of the total pollution gets loaded here. Around 22 drains flow directly into the river. Of these, four main drains- Najafgarh, Najafgarh supplementary, Shahdara and Barapullah, are the key contributors to pollution. The plan will address the cleaning of these as well as include individual plans for the 18 smaller drains,” a Delhi Jal Board official said.
Despite decades of planning and investment to clean up the river, the Yamuna, over the years, has become more polluted. The National Green Tribunal (NGT), as part of its January 13 order, asked the various stakeholders to implement the Maili se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalisation Project 2017 to clean up the river.
At present, as part of Yamuna Action Plan III, an initiative under the centre’s ‘Namami Gange’ programme, the rehabilitation and modernisation of STPs of a total of 814 MLD capacity at Okhla, Kondli and Rithala and the construction of a new 136-MLD capacity sewage treatment plant at Okhla are already under way.
Rehabilitation of sewer lines and rising mains in the catchments of Kondli and Rithala STPs and public outreach activities are also being planned.