After two failed attempts that gobbled up thousands of crores of public money, the Delhi government and the Centre are about to initiate the third Yamuna Action Plan to clean the country's dirtiest river, this time for Rs 1,656 crore, to be approved in a couple of weeks, Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh said on Sunday.
After a boat ride on the Yamuna and meeting with Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit and her Haryana counterpart Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Ramesh admitted that all efforts to clean the Yamuna had not yielded results so far.
"We are about to initiate YAP-III, with focus on Delhi. This plan will be completed by 2015 and the existing sewage treatment network in Delhi will be modernised in a very big way," Ramesh said.
The Centre is likely to approve the ambitious Rs 1,656 crore funding, received from the Japanese government through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JAICA).
To put an end to the daily controversy between Delhi and Haryana on the issue of Yamuna pollution, he said the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) will install continuous water quality monitoring stations at Palla and at Badarpur.
Chief minister Sheila Dikshit, after the meeting, said, "Haryana has promised to do something about the problem. We face this problem every year. Things can't go on like this."
The two states, along with the Union minister, have decided that Haryana will channel the pollution from all the industrial units in Panipat and Sonepat through effluent treatment plants. It was also asked to increase the height of the embankments of Drain Nos 8 and 6, which were mixing with each other and increasing the pollution load emptied into Yamuna in Delhi.
"There will be continuous monitoring of water pollution at Palla, where the Yamuna enters Delhi from Haryana and there will be similar monitoring at Badarpur where the Yamuna flows back into Haryana," Ramesh said.
The first one was already being installed in Wazirabad today, he said.
"There is a common effluent treatment plant in Panipat. Though 512 units have to be connected to that common effluent treatment plant, only 35 have been connected so far," he said.
He said the environment ministry will support further expansion of sewage treatment capacity and effluent treatment capacity if it is required at Panipat so that there is no infiltration of waste water into the Yamuna when the river flows from Haryana to Delhi.
"This will be funded by the MoEF as part of its national river conservation programme. In the next couple of weeks, this proposal will be finalised," he added.
The minister said 47% of Delhi's population is not covered by any organised sewerage network and this situation will go on till the completion of YAP-III in 2015.