Panel on Yamuna cleaning questions UP govt order dissolving monitoring committee

Panel on Yamuna cleaning questions UP govt order dissolving monitoring committee
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New Delhi: Questioning the Uttar Pradesh government's decision to dissolve a monitoring committee on cleaning Yamuna, a panel has urged the NGT to step in and decide the maintainability of the June 14 order of the state.

The Yamuna monitoring committee, comprising retired NGT expert member B S Sajwan and former Delhi chief secretary Shailaja Chandra, told the tribunal it had fixed a review meeting with the principal secretaries of urban development, environment and irrigation of UP on June 24.

"To the utter surprise of the monitoring committee, an e-mail was received on June 20 from under secretary of UP, informing the monitoring committee for Yamuna was wound up by a government order dated June 14. Therefore, participation of the state officers in the meeting called by the committee would not be legally valid," the committee said.

The two-member panel sought the tribunal's indulgence to examine the maintainability of the orders passed by the UP chief secretary. It also asked the green panel to pass appropriate directions in this behalf.

"Urgent action is solicited so that tempo of the monitoring activities does not get derailed as all matters are directly related to abatement of heavy pollution emanating from UP drains and being discharged into Shahdara drain in Delhi which pitfalls in Yamuna," it said.

The monitoring committee also submitted a supplementary progress report on Yamuna and informed it about rejuvenation of floodplains, levy of environmental compensation, environmental flow, idol immersion and status of floodplain in UP.

The panel informed it that as a part of the rejuvenation of the Yamuna river, the Delhi Development Authority has notified 120 hectares of the Yamuna flood plain to develop South Delhi Bio-diversity Park which is located downstream of the DND flyover along the western bank of the river Yamuna where it abuts the Kalindi colony, Khijrabad and Batla House.

On the issue of action on dumping of solid waste in the drains, the committee told the tribunal that according to the cumulative report received from the urban development department for the months of March, April and May, the amount of EC and fines is relatively small but a beginning has at least been made which was not being pursued before March this year.

"During the review, the following noteworthy aspects emerged: Different Municipal Corporations are using the NGT directions on levying environment compensation of Rs 50,000 for trucks and Rs 5,000 for individuals for each case of dumping solid waste in and around drains.

"The NDMC has been successful in recovering a substantial part of fine whereas the East and South corporations have not been at all successful," the panel said.

It informed the NGT that the Delhi Pollution Control Committee has imposed a total of Rs 39,50,000 as environment compensation on solid waste dumping in specific drain locations in different parts of the national capital.

With regard to progress on control of direct idol immersion, the committee said it had asked for pits to be located for idol immersion and all districts have proposed locations for idol immersion in artificial ponds.

"The DPCC has issued directions under section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 read with the Water (Prevention & Control Policy) Act, 1974 for the immersion of idols on festive occasions.This notification sets out standards for making idols and includes general directions to pooja samities, members of public, local bodies and other stakeholders," it said.

On the issue of pollution of Shahdara drain which falls in the Yamuna, the committee said it has not received effective participation in the meetings from September 2018 until now.

The CETPs are not functioning properly and there are industries in residential /non conforming areas and state pollution control board has failed to exercise proper regulatory control on industrial pollution.

It said a substantial portion of the Yamuna floodplain, which lies in the Delhi stretch of the Yamuna, falls in UP and its effective participation was utmost necessary.