Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding Yamuna river pollution, 11/09/2019

  • 11/09/2019

Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Manoj Mishra Vs Union of India & Others dated 11/09/2019 regarding control of pollution and rejuvenation of River Yamuna in Delhi.

History of the Case: 

The matter has been taken up to review the progress in execution of directions in the judgement of the Tribunal dated January 13, 2015.

Vide order dated July 26, 2018 the Tribunal constituted a two Member Committee for time bound action plan and framework for implementation. The Committee was to draw up comprehensive, integrated and inclusive strategy with clear measurable indicators of progress and success. The action plans were also to include creation of biodiversity parks. The DDA was required to make the entire flood plains available to the Forest Department after demarcation.

The Monitoring Committee was also required to lay down a plan for collection of funds on the ‘Polluter Pays’ principle and to deal with the problems of idol immersion in the river Yamuna. The States of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana were directed to constitute their own Monitoring Committees.

First report of the Committee was submitted on January 16, 2019. It was found that DDA was yet to undertake demarcation of the flood plains. There was a need to have a mechanism to stop dumping of debris by installing electronic surveillance system, aerial mapping to track debris, to set up check posts to track transportation of debris and for recovery of environmental compensation, setting up of more water quality monitoring stations, improvement and upgradation of STPs, setting up new STPs to bridge the gap between sewage generated and sewage treated, need for interceptors, maintenance of drains, improvement of CETPs and to set up sewerage network for unauthorized colonies. The Committee noted that the faecal coliform count was upto 6,400 times above the prescribed standards. Only 14% of the 1797 colonies had sewage pipelines. DDA had failed to remove the debris and to secure the area by erecting barbed wire fencing. The authorities in the State of Haryana were required to expedite action for reducing water pollution load. The State of Uttar Pradesh was required to tap the drains, set up STPs and take action against the polluting industries releasing effluents into drains joining the river.

Second Report of the Committee dated 27.05.2019, supplementary reports 28.06.2019 and 02.07.2019 and further reports commenting upon compliance status by authorities in Delhi dated 13.08.2019 and states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh dated 20.08.2019.

Order of the NGT Dated 11/09/2019: 

"The approach to be adopted is to have clear time-bound plan with flexibility and due to accountability for failure by way of departmental action and monetary compensation", said the order. The rescheduled timelines have to be compressed so as to complete every action by December, 2020 except where shorter timelines are specified in this order or are otherwise possible. Failing to do so may invite criminal prosecution NMCG may also monitor the compliance. The Chief Secretaries of Delhi, Haryana and U.P. have to personally see the compliance and have to set up Monitoring Cell directly under them.

DDA has been asked to undertake physical demarcation of the entire floodplain within three months and after taking re- possession, fence such areas and covert them into biodiversity parks. Edible crop cultivation on the floodplain has been prohibited as well as illegal dumping of malba. Pooja material should be thrown at designated sites only to be ensured by DDA, GNCT, UP and Haryana. DDA has been directed to undertake the work of restoration of flood plains so that such flood plains performs the requisite ecological functions and an action plan submitted to the Monitoring Committee with timelines within one month. The DPCC has been asked submit monthly reports on the water quality to the Committee which should contain data on faecal coliform. The DJB has been entrusted to prepare an action plan with timelines for better capacity utilization of STPs by tapping the drain "as a short term measure to reduce pollution in River Yamuna within one month."

State of Haryana has been asked to finish construction of new STPs and upgrade existing STPs by December 31, 2020. Likewise, the principal secretaries, environment and forest and urban developments are required to prepare short and long term plans to control flow of sewage from Uttar Pradesh into the river Yamuna at Ghaziabad with time lines for execution.