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NGT directs DDA to constitute special purpose vehicle for Yamuna rejuvenation
The National Green Tribunal directed the Delhi Development Authority on Thursday to constitute a special purpose vehicle within two weeks for rejuvenation of the Yamuna river.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel also directed the Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh governments to take expeditious action on sewage management, industrial pollutants and solid waste being discharged into the river.
The NGT said the functions of the special purpose vehicle will include ecological restoration of flood plain zones, setting up of bio-diversity parks, artificial wetlands, phytoremediation of drains at the river mouth locations, maintaining vigil and undertaking flow measurement, creating ecological services, removing encroachments and undertaking other activities, including river front development.
"It may also take steps to attract and educate citizens and nature enthusiasts for nature-related activities, including building environmental temper amongst the citizenry without in any manner causing any damage to the flood plain," said the bench, also comprising Justice S P Wangdi.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) may issue notice to entities accountable to pay compensation and in case of non-payment seek execution by moving this tribunal, NGT said.
It also directed the Delhi government to set up within two weeks from today an "Integrated Drain Management Cell" (IDMC) under the Chief Secretary for remediation and management of all drains of Delhi with representatives of all agencies/departments/urban local departments owning such drains, not below the level of chief engineer dealing with the management of drains to the IDMC.
"The CEO, DJB will be the ex-officio member secretary of the IDMC. The IDMC may meet at least once a week, to start with. Constitution of IDMC will not affect ownership of the drains. IDMC may send its reports to this tribunal every two months by e-mail," the bench said.
The NGT also directed the AAP government in Delhi to review its "free sewer scheme" in the national capital saying such policy is certainly contrary to basic tenets of civic life.
It said there is need for stringent compliance of directions to ensure sewage and sludge management and other pollution aspects for protection of environment, public health and safety and also rejuvenation of river Yamuna.
"There is a continued failure of compliance by the authorities inspite of repeated directions of the Supreme Court and this tribunal in the last more than 25 years. The evaluation of damage on account of degradation to river Yamuna, in monetary terms, on account of such failures has also become necessary for fixing accountability," the bench said.
The tribunal directed that a joint committee comprising the Central Pollution Control Board, National Mission for Clean Ganga, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, IIT Roorkee and IIT Delhi may assess damage to environment, in monetary terms on account of degradation of river Yamuna by continued inaction of the authorities in Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh within three months from today.