RWAs apply to adopt over 100 parks, but few proposals for sewage plants
The Delhi government’s environment department has received applications from 22 resident welfare associations (RWAs) and NGOs to adopt over 100 parks in the city after the government had increased the amount of the funds granted for their upkeep. The department has, however, has received only four proposals for setting up of sewage treatment plants (STPs) that would cover 21 parks.
Delhi environment minister Imran Hussain in February had urged RWAs and NGOs in the national capital to adopt parks and set up STPs to recycle sewage water that could be used for their maintenance, in a bid to increase Delhi’s green cover as well as to conserve groundwater.
The government then increased the financial assistance for the maintenance of each park from rupees 1 lakh to rupees 2 lakh and sanctioned another rupees 2 lakh for setting up STPs.
There are more than 18,000 parks and gardens spread over 8,000 hectares in various locations across Delhi. A large number of parks/gardens in the city are under the civic bodies as well as the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).
Under the scheme is which being looked after by the Delhi Parks and Gardens Society (DPGS), the parks or gardens to be adopted for maintenance must be over one acre in size.
“We have received quite a few proposals from residential associations as well as NGOs. We are in the process of scrutinising the proposals. For installation of STPs we have written to the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) for a NOC (no-objection certificate) to process the applications after which we will start work,” said a senior official.
The STPs will have to be connected to the nearest DJB sewer lines. The sewage would be treated to produce ‘grey water’( with acceptable Biological Oxygen Demand levels), that could then be used for horticulture purposes, particularly during the dry season.
The maintenance of the STPs would be done by the applicants who would be required to maintain the standards prescribed by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, the official said.
“ The low number of proposals received for setting up STP’s could be attributed to the more amount of funds required for maintaining it which is easily more than what is required for a park’s upkeep,” the official added.
The government would provide one-time financial assistance of ₹2 lakh to an applicant for setting up the STP. A grant of ₹2 lakh per year will be provided to RWAs/NGOs for adopting parks, which would be released in instalments.
Shyam Sachdeva, president, Mandakini Enclave RWA which has sent proposals to adopt two parks, said the government should increase the funds more.
“We have a total of 36 parks in the colony of which two we have adopted from the DPGS. The increased amount will help us pay the gardeners employed. However, we still have to pay for the horticulture tools from our own pockets. We had suggested the government to pay the amount to be paid as salaries separately and increase the fund required for upkeep a bit more,” said Sachdeva.
There are also many RWAs, which maintain they were willing to adopt parks provided the government removes the clause making the associations’ president “personally responsible” for the utilisation of funds in the affidavit.
“In the meeting with the environment department officials we had suggested this clause should be removed from the process, as the RWA presidents are changed every two years after due elections,” said Suresh Goel, former president, Vasant Vihar RWA.
While Delhi has around 20% green cover, one-third of its total geographical area needs to be covered with foliage for ecological sustainability. These parks and gardens along with wide roadsides and central verges have a wide scope to increase the area under green cover to fulfil the 33% green cover target.