The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has rapped Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Central Public Works Department (CPWD) and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) for stating incorrect facts in affidavits submitted on cleaning debris from the banks of the Yamuna and directed the authorities to file complete and comprehensive affidavits by May 7.
The bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar said, “It is a matter of regret that the authorities have opted not to state entirely correct facts before the Tribunal… Normally, we would have taken action in accordance with the law. However, in the interest of justice, we grant one final opportunity to the vice-chairman of DDA, director general of CPWD, commissioner of the respective corporation, managing director of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, and all other authorities from the State of Uttar Pradesh and Delhi to file complete and comprehensive affidavits.”
The bench directed the authorities to file affidavits stating the extent of debris/construction material/deposits thrown by them on the banks of river Yamuna; how much debris has been removed by each of these authorities; where this debris is being stored or dumped after removal; whether any such site has been earmarked for dumping and what is the site’s capacity for accepting such high-level dumping; and how the material at the dumping site will be treated and disposed of.
The tribunal also ordered that the affidavit on behalf of Delhi should be filed by its chief secretary. Similarly, the affidavit on behalf of Uttar Pradesh shall be filed by its chief secretary.
The bench also said that it is brought to their notice that concrete and construction debris mixed with municipal solid waste (MSW) is thrown on the river banks, which should be stopped forthwith. “We direct that no MSW or MSW mixed with construction debris and other waste material shall be thrown on the river bank of Yamuna,” the bench directed. The case will be heard next on May 23.
Earlier, on February 28, NGT had issued show cause notices to DMRC, CPWD and the department of horticulture, New Delhi, after the court commissioners appointed by the tribunal to inspect the river banks said that fresh debris was being dumped on the Yamuna’s banks by these agencies. The tribunal has asked the heads of various civic agencies of Delhi, the chairperson of DMRC and the principal secretary of irrigation of Uttar Pradesh to submit affidavits giving details of the amount of waste generated in the National Capital Territory (NCT), the mode of its collection and disposal by them. It had given them three weeks, from March 21, to file their respective affidavits.
A committee set up by NGT had recommended May 31 as the deadline for various agencies to clean up the banks of the Yamuna, treated as the city’s backyard. Members of the committee had found that the quantum of waste along the river’s bank is 90,000 cubic metres. Of this, 37,000 cubic metres is on the eastern bank and 53,000 cubic metres on the western bank. DDA, government of Uttar Pradesh and DMRC was to remove all the filth on the Yamuna banks.
Manoj Misra of NGO Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan, petitioner in the case, has criticised the way the clean-up work was carried out. He alleged that DDA was lifting all the waste and dumping it along the guide bund along the DMRC bridge to fool the people and NGT.