Shocked over the high concentration of domestic sewage in Yamuna's waters, the Supreme Court has rapped the Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh governments and agencies that have undertaken the task of cleaning the river.
Taking cognizance of a report by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) - which has pointed out that coliform (domestic sewage) level in the river was much higher than the permissible limit, the court said: "What has happened? Crores have gone. Where? It's a sad state of affairs. Nobody wants to own any responsibility."
Over Rs 1,200 crore of taxpayers' money has been spent collectively by the Centre and three state governments to clean the Yamuna. However, the CPCB report has specifically pointed out the failure of state governments to put in place effective mechanisms to treat domestic sewage.
CPCB counsel Vijay Panjwani told the court that due to the lack of efforts on part of the state governments regarding the treatment of waste, the water quality of the river has not shown any improvement. He alleged the Delhi Jal Board's (DJB) sewage treatment plants were not in a "working condition".
The CPCB reports says that high level of untreated sewage waste continues to pollute the river.
On July 18, 1994, the SC had taken suo motu cognizance of an HT report 'And Quiet Flows The Maily Yamuna', and since then, it has been issuing directions to various government authorities to take steps to make the river pollution-free.
"This matter is pending before us since 1994. Let something happen for the good of the people. The river has become worse in the last decade. It is unfortunate that huge public fund has been spent without showing any improvement in the quality of water in Yamuna," a bench of justices Swatanter Kumar and Madan B Lokur said.
The court also directed the Centre, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Haryana governments to furnish details of how much money has been spent by them and under what head for making the river pollution free.
It also asked the chief secretaries of Delhi, UP and Haryana as well as the Centre and the heads of DDA, NDMC, MCD and Delhi Jal Board to file personal affidavits within two weeks. The bench also sought details of the drains discharging industrial and municipal waste water directly into the river and asked each state to provide information on effluent treatment plants and sewage treatment plants on these drains.