More than a month after NGT deadline, no report on Badshahpur drain
More than a month after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) instructed the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram, the Haryana State Pollution Control Board, and the district irrigation department to submit a report on the impact of concretisating the Badshahpur drain, no such report has been prepared by any of the three bodies. Officials said the delay has been caused due to issues of inter-departmental coordination.
The NGT had, on May 31, asked the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG), Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) and the irrigation department to submit a report on flow of water in the Badshahpur nullah and its capacity to recharge groundwater.
This development came as part of a petition filed by Gurugram resident Vaishali Rana Chandra against ongoing concretisation of the water body, which acts as the city’s principal drainage channel. June 30 was set as a deadline for the report.
Irrigation department engineer S Rawat and HSPCB regional officer Shakti Singh, both, said that the report is being prepared.
“The main reason for delay is because there are multiple departments co-ordinating for the report,” Rawat said. Singh added, “We are working on it and have made some progress. However, the report is yet to be finalised. It will be done by September 5, which is when the NGT will hear the matter again.”
MCG commissioner and deputy commissioner Amit Khatri said, “The work is in process, and the delay has happened due to logistical issues between the three departments. I will look into it to ensure the report is completed at the earliest.”
Chandra’s plea follows a previous petition against concretisation of the Badshahpur drain, which had been disposed off by the NGT in February, to the dismay of city environmentalists.
“The work being carried by authorities out to box the drain is a blatant violation of previous NGT orders, and cannot go unchallenged. Our aim is to bring the whole 29km of the drain back to its natural state,” Chandra said.
The GMDA, according to its action plan to “restore” the drain, intends to concretise about 25 kilometres of the drain and contain it within RCC pipes of 1000mm in diameter (or less, at some spots). The action plan (a copy of which is available on the GMDA website) details how and where concretisation work will be carried out, and shows that only seven kilometres will be left open in the form of a natural drain.
Environmentalists have maintained that this move violates previous NGT orders— specifically one order passed in 2017 in relation to the concretisation of a similar stormwater drain in Chakkarpur village—meant to protect the city’s natural stormwater drains and is environmentally unsound.
“Studies have shown that concretisation of drains is a major factor for urban flooding during monsoon seasons,” states the order, which also clearly instructs the Haryana urban development body to abstain from concretising any more storm water drains in the city.