SC anguish over tardy progress on cleaning Yamuna

The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed anguish over tardy progress in cleaning of river Yamuna and appointed an expert committee.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed anguish over tardy progress in cleaning of river Yamuna and appointed an expert committee to find out what has been achieved in the last 18 years by governments of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana after spending thousands of crores of rupees for the purpose.

A bench of justices Swatanter Kumar and Madan B Lokur also asked the 2-member committee, comprising of a member each from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Delhi Jal Board, to examine the feasibility of blocking the drains which discharge untreated waste water into the river and submit its report by November 9.

The apex court, meanwhile, directed the Centre to place before it the Yamuna Action Plan.

The court was hearing the issue of cleaning up of Yamuna which it had taken suo motu cognisance of on the basis of newspaper reports way back in 1994.

The bench lamented that despite spending huge amounts of
money by the Centre and the concerned states to set up several sewage plants for treating the effluents being discharged into the Yamuna, the river water still had a high pollution rate.

"All the agencies have spent crores of rupees. What is the purpose? What work has been done ultimately,?" it said.

It has also sought a report from the committee regarding the working condition of these plants and whether untreated waste can be stopped from being directly drained into the river.

Earlier this week, the UP and Delhi governments, along with DJB and the New Delhi Municipal Committee, had submitted before the apex court that they have together spent Rs 4,439 crore in the last 18 years to implement the apex court`s directions to make the river water potable.

The submission was made before the court pursuant to its order directing UP, Delhi and the Haryana governments to specify the exact amount of money spent on the river cleaning.

On October 10, the apex court had, while expressing concern over deteriorating quality of Yamuna water, directed the Centre, the three state governments to furnish details of how much money has been spent by them and under what head to make the river pollution-free.

The court had also sought details of the drains discharging industrial and municipal waste water directly into the river and asked each state to provide information on the number of effluent treatment plants and sewage treatment plants on these drains.

The bench had said there has to be a comprehensive plan for tackling discharge of waste into the river and all the concerned authorities should work together.

The apex court has passed a slew of orders over the past 18 years for cleaning up of the river.