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NGT panel seeks report on Signature Bridge green violations

Letters have also been sent to the DTTDC, the government agency that built the bridge connecting north and northeast Delhi inaugurated in November, and the Public Works Department (PWD), which is managing it now, to submit similar reports.

delhi Updated: Apr 25, 2019 07:24 IST
Joydeep Thakur
Joydeep Thakur
New Delhi
Yamuna pollution monitoring committee,National Green Tribunal,Delhi Pollution Control Committee
The Yamuna pollution monitoring committee — a panel formed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) — has directed the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to submit a report at the earliest on the dumping of construction waste into the Yamuna and obstructing the river’s flow below Signature Bridge.(Hindustan Times)

The Yamuna pollution monitoring committee — a panel formed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) — has directed the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to submit a report at the earliest on the dumping of construction waste into the Yamuna and obstructing the river’s flow below Signature Bridge.

Letters have also been sent to the Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation Ltd (DTTDC), the government agency that built the bridge connecting north and northeast Delhi inaugurated in November, and the Public Works Department (PWD), which is managing it now, to submit similar reports.

“We have sent letters to DPCC, DTTDC and PWD seeking their responses. Necessary actions would be taken after the agencies file their responses,” said BS Sajwan one of the members of the two-member committee. The other member is former chief secretary of Delhi, Shailaja Chandra.

Hindustan Times reported on April 17 about how debris generated during the construction of the bridge had choked almost the entire stretch of the river, leaving only a few metres gap for the water to flow.

On April 19, in another report, Hindustan Times highlighted how conditions for environmental clearance of the bridge, essential for any project costing more than Rs 50 crores, had been violated.

A senior official of DTTDC, however, said the debris belonged to an old temporary structure, now being demolished and removed. He had also said the river’s flow hadn’t been obstructed. “We have received the letter. The response would be filed soon,” said Shishir Bansal, chief project manager of the Wazirabad Bridge Project.

The letter sent by the NGT committee, a copy of which has been reviewed by Hindustan Times, observed that “prima facie, not only have the directions given by the NGT, of not dumping debris into the river, been violated but even the conditions stipulated in the environmental clearance granted by the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority have not been complied with.”

DTTDC and PWD have been asked to inform the committee within a week’s time about the authenticity of the HT reports about the dumping of debris into the Yamuna and the choking of the river; if the facts bear out the reports, they were asked to explain why the NGT order and environment clearance norms had been violated.

The agencies have also been asked to include in their report information on what actions had been taken against those responsible for violating the green norms.

The committee has warned that if the reports were found to be true, penalties could be imposed on those responsible for causing environmental damage.

“The NGT committee’s action is a welcome move. The agencies concerned should be asked to remove the debris and restore the floodplains,” said CR Babu, professor emeritus and head of the Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystems (CEMDE) at Delhi University.

The 675-metre Signature Bridge, built at a cost of Rs 1,518 crore, is an eight-lane carriageway that was thrown open in November 2018 to connect north and northeast Delhi and reduce the traffic burden on the Old Wazirabad Bridge. It connects the Outer Ring Road on the western bank of the Yamuna river with Wazirabad Road on the eastern side.

First Published: Apr 25, 2019 05:43 IST