Mull sewage treatment plant for Barapulla drain: NGT to govt

The covering of drains would be a "disaster" and what requires serious consideration is whether there should be a sewage treatment plant for Delhi`s biggest drain, the Barapulla drain, National Green Tribunal (NGT) said Monday.

PTI| Updated: Oct 28, 2013, 21:28 PM IST

New Delhi: The covering of drains would be a "disaster" and what requires serious consideration is whether there should be a sewage treatment plant for Delhi`s biggest drain, the Barapulla drain, National Green Tribunal (NGT) said Monday as it asked authorities concerned to consider the same.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar, which had earlier issued orders against the covering of the 10km- long Kushak nala, a stormwater drain in south Delhi, today said that before it allows any progress on the above proposal, officials should consider whether any sewage treatment plant is required for Barapulla drain.

The Kushak nala-Barapulla nala system is the main arterial drain for the NDMC area.

"Another aspect which requires serious consideration is whether there should be a STP plant at Barapulla drain before it discharges all sewage and other waste into the Yamuna. This must be considered by the authorities before we permit any progress in the (Kushak nala) project," it said.

Hearing a petition against the covering of stormwater drains, which might lead to flooding during monsoons, NGT also directed Delhi government, Delhi Pollution Control Committee and South Delhi Municipal Corporation "to examine and file a comprehensive report dealing with peak storm drainage, modified catchment area, percentage of open area and land use, channel design parameters and treatment, if any, being done for the discharge made from these drains into the Yamuna."

NGT was hearing a petition by retired Indian Forest Service officer Manoj Kumar Mishra and Madhu Bhaduri, a former diplomat, opposing the covering of stormwater drains in Delhi to enable their use for commercial and parking purposes.

The petition states that these drains carry sewage collected from various colonies of Delhi and covering them could cause excessive flooding during monsoons.

South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), today, submitted before the NGT bench that the petition did not correctly represent the facts inasmuch as no stormwater drain exists today with the facility in question being primarily a sewage discharge drain which also carries drained off stormwater during monsoons.

To this, the bench said, "It is noticed that mere covering of the drains, even if other factors are taken in favour of SDMC, would still remain a disaster inasmuch as the sewage discharge from these drains through Barapulla would continue to heavily pollute the Yamuna, which is the primary and main consideration from the point of view of the environment.

"Thus, it is expected of all these authorities to examine whether each drain, before it discharges industrial effluents and other waste into the Yamuna, is treated so as to conform to the prescribed standards," the bench added.

It also directed SDMC to examine the kind of municipal waste being released into the drain following photographs produced by the petitioner.

It also issued a notice to Delhi Jal Board, which was also impleaded today as a party in the case.

During the hearing, advocate Rahul Choudhary, appearing for Mishra, submitted that under the Master Plan, 2021, SDMC was expected to carry out the environmental study before it started covering the drains.

He also submitted that under the provisions of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, SDMC was required to obtain the approval of the competent authority before it covered open drains, particularly stormwater drains.

At this, NGT asked the civic agency to inform whether it required any Environment Impact Assessment study or environmental clearances in connection with the issues in question.