Fifth report of the Yamuna Monitoring Committee (YMC), 07/12/2020

  • 07/12/2020

Fifth report of the Yamuna Monitoring Committee for the rejuvenation of the river Yamuna and abatement of pollution in Original Application No. 6/2012 in the matter of Manoj Mishra Vs Union of India & Others.

The NGT vide its order dated July 26, 2018 had directed for the formation of a Monitoring Committee to monitor implementation of the judgement of January 13, 2015 and orders thereafter.

The report dated December 7, 2020 informed the NGT that on the suggestion of the YMC, the Ministry of Jal Shakti undertook an E-flow study for the Delhi stretch of the river Yamuna through the National Institute of Hydrology (NIH), Roorkee.

The YMC report included the status report from GNCTs Irrigation and Flood Control Department (IFCD), which was received on November 24, 2020 on the creation of water bodies and reservoirs in flood plains of river Yamuna by retaining excess water in the river during monsoon season from Palla to Wazirabad.

The GNCT report talked about the shallow reservoirs created for impounding of monsoon flows and recharge of ground water. The report said that the pilot project for recharge of Yamuna floodplain was initiated in the year 2019 on an area of 40 acre. The work of installation of 20 Piezometers (10 in number within the floodplain with 30 metre depth and 10 outside the floodplain with 70 metre depth) has also been completed. 20 Piezometers have been constructed in and around the flood plain area from village Palla to village Hiranki in the year 2020.

A total number of 33 Piezometers are now available in and around the flood plain including 13 Piezometers constructed in the year 2019.  The pre-monsoon average rate of infiltration in the pond has been calculated to be 650 mm/ hour. A rise of 0.5 to 2.0 metre has been observed in the piezometers due to flood in the river in the year 2020. The bottom of the inner slopes of the banks on all sides have been protected with bamboo chicks with anchorage to prevent erosion of slopes.

In addition, the YMC report talked about the formation of toxic foam in river Yamuna. The primary reason behind the formation of the toxic foam was high phosphate content in the detergents finding their way into the river through various drains. Phosphate containing detergents are known to be capable of creating high algal growth even in fresh water. "While it is a good development that BIS standards for detergents have been notified, it is not clear whether these standards will actually be enforced and until that is done and the manufacturers made to comply with the standards, the problem arising due to release of detergents with high phosphatic contents into rivers and water bodies will remain", the report of December 7, 2020 said.

Another point raised in the report was about the repeated cases of slippages in project implementation, both in respect of YAP III and even the Interceptor Sewer Project. The report called for "examination of the processes of decision making within the DJB".