More than two years after the Delhi government announced formation of a water body authority, officials are still "working out modalities".
The government claims to have expedited work to form the authority which will protect and manage the 600-odd water bodies left in the Capital.
"We're identifying all water bodies currently falling under the jurisdiction of various land-owning agencies such as Delhi Development Authority, Delhi Jal Board or the three municipal corporations. We're seeking - from these agencies -their existing action plans so that we can prepare a holistic plan and form the authority," a senior government official told Hindustan Times on Monday.
"We want to avoid duplication. For example, Delhi Jal Board also prevents pollution of water bodies. We're working out modalities for one unified authority," he said.
The government claims that the delay in formation of the authority does not mean the water bodies are not being protected. "For example, we're writing to the East Delhi municipal corporation for protection of a water body at Mandawali in Shahadra. Debris had been dumped there after construction works. We're telling the corporation to carry out plantation work in the area," he said.
The government also claimed that it is committed to protect marshes - a mix of wetland and grassland - near Jahangirpuri in North Delhi. "DMRC is building a Metro line in the area and has set up a temporary depot for storage of material. The area is under Delhi Jal Board and DDA. We will go for plantation in the area after the Metro construction is over. We believe parks and water bodies can co-exist," the official said.
"After the national green tribunal (NGT) told officials to clear debris from the Yamuna riverbed, we have initiated measures that the order is followed in toto," he said. The tribunal observed early this month that the debris was causing pollution and was hazardous to the river ecosystem, flow of water and to the inhabitants who use the water.
These actions are being taken after Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan, a civil society group, asked the government to protect waterbodies and marshes from pollution and encroachment.