The authorities' failure to clean the Yamuna after spending more than Rs.12,000 crore has forced the Supreme Court to ask the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) to use its expertise to help free the river of pollutants.
A bench of Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice Madan B Lokur on Tuesday expressed serious displeasure over the way the government agencies handled the river-cleaning project. The judges said it was a fit case to get support from other agencies other than the public authorities.
“We can't help to express our anguish at the way public authorities are dealing with such a serious subject. There is no co-ordination or compatibility between them. With the passage of time, things appear to have become from bad to worse…. It is important for the court not to permit public authority to render the project (cleaning of Yamuna) incomplete particularly when thousands of crores has been spent,” the bench observed and sought the personal presence of the directors of IIT Delhi and IIT Roorkee.
“It seems impossible to stop the pollution of the Yamuna. Its common man’s money that has been spent and nothing has happened,” the court said.
The court suggested a re-look at the 1994 water-sharing agreement between Delhi and its neighbouring states. The agreement mandates release of a fixed quantity of water into the river by Haryana.
“It seems not enough water is released into the river when it enters Delhi. Probably we need to have a re-look at the 1994 agreement,” the bench said.
The Centre has been asked to apprise the court about the steps taken by the Yamuna Project Committee, headed by Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor, to clean the river.
The court will hear the case again on December 11.
The court has been issuing directions to various government authorities to take steps to make the river pollution-free.
Eighteen years ago, it first took suo-motu cognizance of an HT report titled “And Quiet Flows the Maily Yamuna”.
Acting on the court’s last orders, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) submitted a report on the status of sewage treatment plants (STPs) installed at various drains discharging the capital's waste into the river.
The bench was surprised to learn that 45% of Delhi did not have a drainage system. As a result, the entire untreated sewage flowed into the Yamuna.