Primary pollutants in the city air continued to be the PM 2.5 micro particles, the Central Pollution Control Board's (CPCB) said.
Slamming Delhi Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj’s remarks on the cleaning of the Yamuna River, LG House officials said that it was only after the Delhi government’s “inaction” that the National Green Tribunal (NGT) constituted a high-level committee chaired by LG VK Saxena.
This comes after Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Saurabh Bhardwaj challenged Delhi LG to present any new projects he has initiated before “taking credit” for the work done by the Arvind Kejriwal government. Reacting over this, the LG House officials said, “The statement issued by Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj is petty, self-defeating, laughable, anti-people and anti-Delhi to say the least. Had the Government of Delhi done a single concrete thing with regard to cleaning the Yamuna during the last eight years, apart from making hollow announcements issuing advertisements and hoisting banners, the NGT would not have slammed the Delhi Government for inaction on this front and constituted a special High-Level Committee and requested the LG to Chair it”.
The officials quoted from the NGT order dated January 9, 2023, wherein the NGT had observed that the situation regarding the cleaning of the Yamuna River remains “unsatisfactory” and ordered the constitution of a high-level committee.
The NGT Bench has observed, “It does appear that the situation to a great extent remains unsatisfactory, in violation of the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and orders of this Tribunal, fixing rigid timelines which are being defied at whims, without accountability and without visible improvement in the ground situation. Thus, an effective execution regime appears to be necessary with the involvement of top most administrative authorities”.
It added, “In the light of the above discussion, we constitute a High-Level Committee (HLC) of concerned authorities in Delhi where pollution of Yamuna is higher (about 75 per cent), compared to other river basins States. We request the Lieutenant Governor, Delhi, who is Chairman DDA and Administrator of Delhi under Article 239 of the Constitution, to head the Committee.”
The officials further cited the NGT observations on the Delhi government and called it a “telling statement” on the “abject failure” of the Delhi Jal Board
“Firstly, there is still a huge gap in the generation and treatment of sewage with 35 STPs treating 573.5 MGD, with a gap of 194.5 MGD. The timelines of all STPs (except Coronation Pillar which was commissioned in March 2022 against the timeline of June 2020) have been continuously extended and presently stand extended up to June, 23,” the statement read.
“Secondly, all drains in which untreated sewage is being discharged are not intercepted and diverted so that the untreated sewage is not conveyed to the river. DJB is yet to trap 147 drains out falling into Najafgarh and Shahdara Drains and timelines for each stage of trapping of different segments of the drains is yet to be assigned to specific officers,” it added
“Thirdly, DJB is yet to ensure that all the households in the areas where sewerage network has been provided are connected with the sewerage network and environmental compensation is yet to be imposed.,” the statement further read.
The official also asked Bhardwaj to refrain from this “unnecessary mudslinging”, especially at a time when after eight years of “total inaction” on his and his government’s part, things had started to look better for the Yamuna and the people of Delhi.
Bhardwaj’s remarks had come in response to Lieutenant Governor’s claim to clean the Yamuna River in a time-bound manner.
The AAP leader had emphasised that all the progress made in the Yamuna cleaning efforts has been executed in accordance with the comprehensive six-point action plan announced by the Chief Minister in November 2021.