Kejriwal rolls out six-point action plan to clean up Yamuna river by 2025

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal pointed to his promise during the 2020 assembly elections to clean up the Yamuna within five years and to bathe in it to highlight the success of his mission
A boy rows a boat as seagulls fly over the waters of the Yamuna river, on a smoggy morning in New Delhi on Thursday. (REUTERS)
A boy rows a boat as seagulls fly over the waters of the Yamuna river, on a smoggy morning in New Delhi on Thursday. (REUTERS)
Updated on Nov 18, 2021 02:17 PM IST
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Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday announced a six-point action plan to clean up Yamuna river by February 2025. The mission includes improving the Capital’s sewage treatment capacity and network, cleaning up major drains, de-silting storm water drains, and taking firm action over the release of untreated waste.

Addressing reporters, Kejriwal pointed to his promise during the 2020 assembly elections to clean up the Yamuna within five years and to bathe in it to highlight the success of his mission.

“Yamuna is close to everyone in Delhi. It is the lifeline of Delhi. Everyone wants to see a clean Yamuna. It took 70 years to dirty the Yamuna. All the dirt of 70 years cannot be cleaned in two days. But we have now prepared a six-point action plan to clean the Yamuna by February 2025. We have started work on these points on a war footing,” Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal said.

The first “action point” is to increase the city’s sewage treatment capacity and improving the quality of the waste treatment process. At present, Kejriwal said, New Delhi can treat only about 600MGD (million gallons per day) of sewage as a result of which a lot of sewage is left untreated and released directly into the Yamuna.

Also Read: Untreated effluent from Haryana contaminating Yamuna waters: Report

“The city actually needs sewage treatment plants (STPs) with a total capacity of 800-850MGD. We are doing three things on this front. One, we’re setting up new sewage treatment plants such as the coronation plant and the ones being built at Okhla, Kondli, Rithala and other places. Two, we’re increasing the capacity of the existing plants. Three, the existing plants are operating with old technology because of which even treated water is dirty. We will upgrade the technology to ensure treated water that is released is of 10/10 purity,” the CM said.

The mission’s “second action” point is to clean up the city’s major drains. Kejriwal said the Najafgarh, Badshahpur, supplementary and Ghazipur drains will be cleaned with a new technology without diverting its waste to plants. The remaining drains, he said, will be diverted to the city’s STPs.

Arvind Kejriwal also pointed to the plan to properly treat industrial waste and take action against set-ups that flout norms, which is the mission’s third “action point”.

“A lot of industries show on paper that their waste is released only after proper treatment. But the reality is that industrial waste treatment is practically not happening. All effluent treatment plants that are not operating properly will be repaired and upgraded. The industries that fail to send their waste to effluent treatment plants will be shut down,” the Delhi chief minister said.

He also spoke about the need to improve the community toilets at various slums and slum-like clusters across New Delhi, the fourth “action point” of the Delhi government project. “At present, the waste from all community toilets in ‘jhuggies’ (slums) is released into storm water drains, as a result of which their sewage is released directly into the [Yamuna] river. This waste will be diverted and linked to sewage lines, so that it’s treated properly,” Kejriwal said.

The fifth “action point” is to increase household sewage connections across the city. “Many people still haven’t taken sewer connections in the city. Many households release their sewage directly into the local ‘nullahs’ (large drains). We have decided that the Delhi government will install sewer connections in people’s houses. They won’t have to apply for it or seek permission. We will charge a nominal rate, which will be adjusted in their water bills,” Kejriwal said.

The sixth “action point” of the Yamuna clean-up mission is to de-silt and rehabilitate the city’s entire sewer network. “I am personally monitoring this project. We have set specific milestones for each action point and I will ensure that deadlines aren’t missed,” Kejriwal said.

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Saturday, December 04, 2021