The slow progress of work in cleaning the Khan and Saraswati rivers by the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) came under criticism from the Central bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which is hearing a petition filed by a activist Kishore Kodwani.
Judicial member Dalip Singh and expert member PS Rao, in their judgment said, "….we are constrained to observe that the progress in the matter is considerably slow. The matter requires to be dealt on a priority basis given the fact that the work with regard to removal of the debris and encroachments in the Khan river bed has been linked with Simhast festival scheduled in January 2016, and hence it must be completed before the end of year 2015. The state government, district collector and commissioner IMC have to take this fact into consideration. Also, the fact that the water quality is far from satisfactory in the Khan and Saraswati rivers, which merge into the Shipra at the Triveni Sangam."
The observation of the tribunal came after sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Sandeep Soni had filed an affidavit before the tribunal, stating that on account of the election duties, some more time may be required for the removal of encroachments all along the banks of the rivers. The affidavit also mentioned that notices have been served to the encroachers.
The IMC in its compliance report said issuing of work order for trapping the effluents that fall into the rivers from 340 nullahs, was in the final stage of approval by the mayor-in-council.
The IMC report also claimed that it has erected sign boards at 50 places to create awareness, besides placing dustbins around the river to stop people from dumping solid waste in the rivers. The work of removing debris has also started, it added.
The court asked the authorities to remove debris from the point where the water from the sewage treatment plan would be released into the river, as no impact of the treated water would be felt unless the huge quantity of debris containing toxic waste, which has deposited there over the years, is also removed.
The state and district administration has been asked to come up with a response in this regard by the next hearing which is slated on January 2015, while the IMC has been asked to submit progress report along with photographs of the progress in cleaning the rivers.