NGT bans open defecation on Yamuna banks, imposes Rs 5000 fine
NGT has said that the day is not far when Yamuna in Delhi will be clean for bathing on auspicious days.Updated: Jul 20, 2017, 11:10 IST
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday banned open defecation and dumping of waste on the Yamuna floodplains and directed the authorities, including Delhi police, to impose a fine of R 5,000 on violators.
“No waste of any kind and open defecation will be permitted in and around any water body and on the floodplains of the river Yamuna. The authorities, including police, would take stringent action against defaulting persons. Wvery defaulter would be liable to pay an environmental compensation of R 5,000 per incident,” the bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by environmentalist Manoj Misra, who said the green body should monitor the ‘Maili se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalisation Project 2017’.
The direction evoked mixed responses from activists, experts and government authorities who pointed at practical problems they might face while implementing the order. Some, however, sounded optimistic.
“The floodplains over the 22-km stretch between Wazirabad and Okhla sprawls over more than 11,000 acres. There is no fixed time for defecation and dumping of waste. How will it be possible for the authorities to keep a watch?” asked an environment activist.
The experts said that while on the one hand it would be difficult for police to prove in court who has defecated and where, it could also lead to corruption and false cases.
“It is only the poor and people in the lowest rung of the society who defecate in the open. How would they pay R 5,000? This could lead to corruption as cops might let off the violators charging lesser amounts,” said an expert who didn’t want to be named.
Shortage of manpower would also be a hindrance, police said. There are around 77,000 police personnel for Delhi’s population of around 1.67 crore – one cop for every 216 persons. But only around 25,000 personnel are posted at police stations.
A police official said: “This is a social problem. There are thousands of homeless people at ISBT near the Yamuna banks. They have no option but to go to the river banks.”
A section of activists and officials, however, claimed that though it might seem difficult, the order can be implemented if executed in the right manner and right intent.
“We have about a dozen night shelters on the Yamuna bed and all have toilet facilities in it. Even the slums around the Yamuna have toilets. If needed, we can construct more toilets to stop open defecation,” said an official of Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB). DUSIB is constructing toilets across Delhi to end open defecation.
The experts pointed out that if a few people are arrested from some areas, then the message would spread and would act as a deterrent for others.
“We will stop them from doing it as ordered by our seniors. Issuing fines in the next few days may act as a deterrent initially,” said a police officer.
DCP Madhur Verma, Delhi police spokesperson, said, “We are yet to receive a copy of order but after receiving it, it will be followed in letter and spirit.”