The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave green signal to the Delhi Jal Board’s Interceptor Sewage Technology Project which would ensure that only treated sewage flew into the Yamuna.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan gave the go ahead after Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam submitted that an expert committee set up on the court’s order has found that the Interceptor Sewage Technology Project was better than DJB’s earlier project based on the Thames Model. Delhi Government counsel DN Goburdhun supported the ASG’s submission.
The Bench asked the DJB to start the work on the project and file an action taken report in July.
The cmmittee comprised DJB CEO Arun Kumar, Central Pollution Control Board Additional Director PM Ansari, Central Ground Water Board Officer-in-Charge G C Saha, IIT Delhi’s A K Mittal, Central Water Commission Director Shiv Nandan Kumar and Ministry of Urban Development’s Deputy Advisor (Public Health Engineering) M Sankaranarayanan.
According to CPCB counsel Vijay Panjwani, the committee has also found the Interceptor Sewer concept to be financially more viable thaan the concept of Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) at the mouth of drains, even if operation and maintenance cost of these interceptor sewers is added to the project cost.
While endorsing the DJB’s concept, the Committee said that it would be necessary that in the process of implementation of this concept of interceptor sewer to have detailed and correct measurement of flow in the drains after rehabilitation of trunk/peripheral sewers.
Further, the DJB should have correct assessment of size and length of sewers after taking into consideration the diversion of flow into existing trunk sewer along major drains and the quality parameters of sewage flowing into the drains, the report recommended.
Senior Advocate Ranjit Kumar, who is assisting the court in the case as Amicus Curiae, had objected to the Interceptor Sewage Technology Project on the ground that it would further delay the whole scheme that had already swallowed Rs 1700 crore and had been hanging fire for 12 years.
Under the Thames Model, the DJB had earlier talked of setting up STPs at the mouth of the drains so as to ensure that sewage was treated properly before its discharge into the river. However, later it changed the plan and decided to introduce the Interceptor Sewage Technology to ensure that only treated water went to the drain that fell into the Yamuna.
The court had taken suo motu cognizance of a Hindustan Times Report in 1994 and since then it is treating the issue as a PIL and monitoring the progress in making the Yamuna pollution-free on its 22-km stretch in the capital from Wazirabad to Okhala Barrage.