Open drains have deprived residents of fresh air across different pockets. Host to the Shahdara drain from Delhi, UP government may soon get rid of the stench and boost the city coffers along with it.
Diversion of the drain, which covers 7 km in Noida, will also release land in prime sectors for auction. If covered, the 200-metre-wide drain will relieve over 14 lakh square metre of prime land as per estimates. It can be auctioned for more than R10,000 crore.
Noida authority officials say it is a win-win situation for Noida and the capital.
While Delhi will save the cost of a treatment plant needed at Noida border, the satellite city will get better air quality.
Noida authority will bear the cost of treatment plant, which is required whether the drain is diverted or not, and the shift.
“Delhi has in principle agreed to the proposal but wants a detailed feasibility study. An IIT Roorkee report finds it so. A Delhi committee and Noida officials recently met and discussed the proposal,” a senior authority said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to talk to media.
According to the plan, discharge from the Shahdra drain will be taken to river Yamuna through the Hindon canal after treatment.
“We welcome the UP government decision. We had suggested the diversion on technical grounds in our PIL (public interest litigation) besides asking for discharge of only treated water. Since 1996, we have been unable to get rid of this pollution,” Sushil Aggarwal, former president of Sector 14 Residents Welfare Association, said.
He filed a PIL in 1996 in Supreme Court over the drain pollution.
"We also stated that the drain was polluting drinking water lines close to the drain. A Supreme Court order dated 16 November, 1998, released a schedule to set up a treatment plant latest by 2002. Delhi delayed implementation. In 2007, SC extended it till 2009,” Aggarwal said. Till now, no plant has come up.
However, Delhi government officials feel the project may not be technically feasible and will be expensive.
In Delhi, the diversion will increase water level in the drain by two metres. Hence, it will need pumping. Moreover, the flow is natural and part of a system for the past 100 years.
Even if the diversion is done, both the governments will require clearance from environment bodies and the water commission, officials added.