#15
Revive The Yamuna
The Yamuna River has been part of the collective memory of Delhi for a long time but this lifeline is dying. We will ensure 100 percent collection and treatment of Delhi’s sewage through an extensive sewer network and construction of new functional sewage treatment plants. Discharge of untreated water and industrial effluents into the river Yamuna will be strictly prohibited.
Project Updates

The Delhi government has come up with a new “comprehensive turnaround plan for the Yamuna” to ensure that untreated water does not enter the river. The plan will be executed over the next two-and-a-half years and will cost Rs 6,000 crore, said officials. The plan will include cleaning the river, developing the river bank as a biodiversity zone, treating drain water and using spaces on the banks of drains as public spaces, said government sources. The new plan comes at a time when there is growing pressure on the government from the National Green Tribunal to clean the river. “There have been three Yamuna action plans costing crores. Other plans relating to sewage treatment were proposed. All these plans were in isolation and Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 crore was allocated and spent on various projects,” said a senior government official. The new plan has been developed by a team of Delhi Jal Board officials, headed by Water Minister Kapil Mishra, in the last six months. “This plan combines all earlier plans — point sources, non-point sources, biodiversity, ecology, river cleaning. No aspect has been left untouched and this is a detailed plan. We have mapped out each drain and how to clean them up,” said a government official. The official added, “The plan includes removing silt which gets accumulated near the river. Other projects will look at river flow and river-front development… An ecological riverfront will also be developed across 9,000 hectares. This is being done for the first time in the world on such a large scale.” Instead of just cleaning the river, the plan aims to build the area around the river and drains. “The river and all drains are being seen as one system. We are not looking at the Yamuna in isolation. We are not only cleaning the river and drains but are also developing an ecology an economy around it,” said the official. “On both sides of the large drains, for 250m, water-oriented development will take place. We will be creating a clean water body and public space. This will lead to an automatic rise in the value of land around these drains. The idea is to notify 250m around it as commercial space. We are looking at drains in two ways — as sewage or interceptors and as a wetland. Cycle tracks, greenways and paths will be developed for public utilisation along the drains,” added the official.

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The Delhi government has drawn up an elaborate plan for Yamuna revival, focusing on the cleaning of drains, development of green areas along the river and creation of reservoirs. Involving several agencies, including the Centre, Delhi Jal Board would supervise the work that's expected to take about two years and cost over Rs 6,000

Four new sewage treatment plants have been commissioned (Nilothi, Pappankala,Yamuna Vihar and tertiary level plant at Okhla). This has resulted in reduction of the flow of untreated waste water into the Yamuna by 65 MGD.

The tenders for trapping all wastewater falling in Najafgarh and Supplementary drain have been invited. It comprises of setting up 15 STPs, 3 SPSs, trunk sewer and related projects. The tenders for construction of 70 MGD STP at Coronation have been received.

The progress of the project of Interceptor Sewer has been achieved as 83%. Package-1 of Interceptor Sewer and part of Package-2, 3 & 4 have been commissioned diverting thereby 60-70 MGD of sewage from drains to Sewage Treatment Plants, which will reduce pollution level in River Yamuna. A 15 MGD capacity Sewage Treatment Plant at the mouth of Delhi Gate drain has been commissioned. It treats all the sewage coming from walled city area and treated effluent of good quality i.e. BOD<10 & SS<10ppm is being discharged into River Yamuna thus reducing pollution. Three drains Magazine Road, Sweepers Colony & Khyber Pass drains, directly out falling into river Yamuna, have been trapped into existing pump house at Arunanagar and being pumped to Bela Road trunk sewers.

The AAP government needs Rs 3,659 crore to make the ‘maili’ Yamuna ‘nirmal’ once again by 2017, as per a plan given in January by the National Green Tribunal (NGT). Union Water Resource Secretary Shashi Shekhar is leading a panel which is monitoring the execution of the NGT project to revive the river that meets 70 per cent of the total drinking needs of the Capital. Under the arrangement, firms would raise funds, put in place clean-up systems and maintain them on behalf of the government and get a pre-agreed annual payment spread over 15 to 20 years. The NGT has given the Delhi government time till September 11 to explain its stand vis a vis the suggested annuity model of involving private players in the task. This was after the secretary had suggested the model, saying that it would be difficult for any government to raise Rs 3,000 crore in a year or two, also indicting the quality of river restoration work done by Delhi government in the past. “We wrote to the secretary after he met CM Arvind Kejriwal and Kapil Mishra on Monday. We have agreed to go for annuity model for projects worth about Rs 1,700 crore. This is what will cost in the phase one of the NGT plan,” a top Delhi government official told Mail Today. The NGT’s plan raises more hopes because it also looks at restoration of storm drains currently carrying sewage and adequate fresh water flow in the channel. Also, Shekhar has said private sector investment would ensure preset timelines in implementation and efficient clean-up systems. YAP is based on an 85:15 cost sharing basis between the Centre and Delhi government. Rs 1,514.42 crore has been spent on YAP Phase-I & II in Delhi and two adjoining states, but in vain. Now DJB is fixing sewer lines and clean-up plants from Rs 1,656 crore approved under YAP Phase III for Delhi alone. The Urban Development Ministry and DJB are also executing a Rs 2,000-cr sewage interceptor project, which will make up for sewerage deficiency mostly in rural Delhi and unauthorised colonies. A 100% sewerage network will cost Rs 20,000 crore and take 15 years. The AAP government might probe huge wastage of money in the name of Yamuna clean-up during previous governments, Delhi Water Minister Kapil Mishra said. “There is no doubt that a huge sum of money has been wasted. Whether some people intentionally pocketed parts of the project costs or not is subject to inquiries. River restoration is our first priority. But there is definitely a need to look back and find the wrongs that have happened and catch the offenders,” Mishra told Mail Today. “It was not just the Sheila government. The Centre was also party to all cleanup projects. It’s not just the 22-km stretch of the Yamuna in urban Delhi. Hundreds of kilometres of river stretches across India are dying because of wrong priorities,” he said. Too many court cases, dealt with separately, and projects, often working at cross purposes, in the last three decades have literally made a mess of all clean-up efforts. How is AAP different? “There was no intent. They did not make serious efforts. The Congress had been in power both at the Centre and in the state for many years but there was no holistic approach. Sometimes they focused on drains. Building clean-up plans became the priority at other times,” he said. Mishra said river restoration in Delhi had gone horribly wrong. “Those in charge of clean-up could not understand the river. Had they simply poured Bisleri water—worth the cost of clean-up projects—into the river, it would have become a free-flowing, healthy river.” Mishra said there is no ego tussle with the Centre. “We’re reaching out to the Centre. We have had meetings with Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti, Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu and the road transport and highways minister. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) is also very proactive for the river clean-up. This atmosphere had been missing all these years.” When the NGT is executing its clean-up project, why have the Delhi government and AAP agreed to form a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the Yamuna? “We would execute the NGT plan in letter and spirit. We will see what the scope of the SPV shall be. Maybe the SPV will execute the NGT’s plan, maybe it will take river restoration forward,” the Delhi water minister said. Mishra, however, added that AAP would not allow (Prime Minister Narendra) “Modi ji’s Sabarmati model” in Delhi. “That is no river rejuvenation. The water that you see in Ahmedabad has been brought from the Narmada canal, many believe illegally. Pollution has been pushed downstream.” He admitted that there were many flaws in the existing sewage clean-up systems, responsible for the poor health of the Yamuna. “But I promise that my government is seriously working to revive the river,” he said.

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