The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has indicted the Delhi government for inordinate delays in preparing two separate master plans on drainage and sewerage networks.
The inaction has made Delhi increasingly vulnerable to urban flooding and its lifeline — the Yamuna River — is getting shallower and dirtier (see graphic).
The 1981 drainage master plan has not been updated, the government’s top auditor has said. All this while, burgeoning road building has altered a large portion of the storm water network, compromising its capacity to drain rainwater into the Yamuna.
“Delhi Jal Board was formed in 1998 to mange sewage but it is yet to have a sewerage master plan,” the report says. There is a yawning gap between sewage generation and its disposal as the treatment capacity of sewage plants remains grossly underutilised in the absence of such a plan.
“Sewage from 46% of Delhi’s population flows into natural storm water drains (and eventually into the Yamuna). The river is supposed to provide water and act as a natural drainage — not sewerage — system,” the report says.
“Delhi’s aspirations of being a world-class city will never be fulfilled as long as the storm water drains - Yamuna’s tributaries - carry waste water and are covered to build parking lots, roads and shopping complexes,” civil society group Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan (YJA) wrote to the government on Wednesday.
Additionally, the government must provide enough resources and powers - on the lines of Delhi Metro - to the DJB to complete the city’s 100% sewerage coverage in a period not exceeding the next 5 years, YJA’s Manoj Misra said.
“The Delhi government does not even provide separate funds for drainage and flood control,” the CAG report said.
In 2005, the government formed a committee and started the process of review of the drainage plan. IIT-Delhi was approached as a consultant after the Cabinet’s nod in 2012. Work was to start in July 2012 and finish in 18 months.
Similarly, Delhi Jal Board assigned preparation of a sewerage master plan to two firms in 2010 at a cost of Rs. 12.36 crore. The task was to be completed by April 2013. The government is yet to approve the draft plan, the CAG report says, adding, “DJB is not carrying out routine and preventive maintenance of its sewerage network.”