Remove bunds blocking flow of water into Yamuna: Delhi HC to Haryana

The Delhi High Court Tuesday asked Haryana to remove the bunds that, according to the Delhi government, were blocking flow of clean water into the Yamuna and was leading to an increase in pollution levels in the national capital’s water supply.

The direction by a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao came after the Haryana government stated in an affidavit that it will remove the bunds.

In its affidavit, the Manohar Lal Khattar government has said the bunds were put up in DD-8 canal to ensure that pollution from it does not flow into the Yamuna.

It also denied the Delhi government’s allegations in its recent application, that due to the bunds the water supply of the national capital was getting more polluted.

Haryana in its reply to the application has said that of the 1,000 million gallons per day (MGD) water requirement of the national capital, 500 MGD good quality raw water is supplied by it through canals and 440 MGD is sourced from the Ganga and tubewells.

Only the remaining 60 MGD water which is sourced directly from the Yamuna would contain high levels of ammonia, it has said and added that Delhi was the largest contributor to pollution in the Yamuna.

The Delhi Jal Board (DJB), represented by senior advocate Dayan Krishnan and advocate Sumeet Pushkarna, told the bench that they need to go through the affidavit and sought time to respond to it.

The court, thereafter, gave the DJB time till March 13 to respond to the claims made by Haryana in its affidavit.

Haryana, in its affidavit filed by the principal secretary of its water department, has claimed that the raw water supply from it to Delhi never gets affected or reduced even in the lean season.

It has also said that Delhi should take urgent steps to reduce its losses which are alleged to be 10 per cent during treatment and 30 per cent after that, as residents of Haryana suffer from dearth of water to ensure the national capital does not.

Haryana has contended that some losses during treatment are inevitable, “but losses to the extent as projected by DJB are unpardonable and can even be termed as criminal wastage of precious raw water.”

It has further said that “any deficiency in water supply to the citizens of Delhi is because of mismanagment and inaction on the part of the DJB”.

It has also said that at Agra in Uttar Pradesh, which is downstream of Delhi, the Yamuna water received is of much worse quality and therefore, that state has installed a water treatment plant (WTP) of much higher capacity.

Haryana has stated that the DJB should also consider setting up a WTP of higher capacity.

It has contended that the application filed by the DJB was not maintainable and was liable to be dismissed as Delhi was receiving more than its requirement of water from Haryana and the surplus can be used to dilute the ammonia levels in the Wazirabad reservoir.

The DJB, in its plea, had claimed that if urgent steps are not taken to remove the bunds it would adversely affect the water supply to central Delhi, including the Lutyens zone.

It had claimed that the DD-8 channel which supplies additional water to Yamuna to dilute its pollution levels has been blocked by Haryana and therefore, the water being received at Wazirabad was unusable for treatment as it had high levels of ammonia.

The application had said that water treated at Wazirabad is supplied to Central Delhi where all the major government offices, bungalows and the Supreme Court and the High Court are located.

It also sought directions to Haryana to control the pollutants that it was discharging into the Yamuna.

The DD-8 channel carries clean water from the Delhi Sub Branch Canal (DSBC) and the Munak canal into the Yamuna to ensure the reservoir at Wazirabad is always kept full, the application had said.

The application was moved by the DJB in a PIL by a lawyer, S B Tripathi, seeking sufficient water supply for the national capital.

The high court had earlier asked the Haryana government to ensure that it releases the entire quantity of water required as per the undertaking given by it to the court.

Haryana has to release 719 cusecs of water per day into Munak canal and 330 cusecs per day in DSBC, according to the undertaking and earlier court orders.

NGT slaps Rs 25,000 fine on Delhi govt for not filing report

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has slapped Rs 25,000 as costs on the Delhi government for failure to file a report on the action taken to prevent blockage of drains in the city.

A bench headed by Acting NGT Chairperson Justice Jawad Rahim directed the AAP government to file its response within 10 days and deposit the fine within a week.

The order came on a plea filed by city-based Rajokari Youth Welfare Society seeking a direction to the Delhi government to take action to remove blockage of drains in the national capital.

The tribunal said despite the petitioner highlighting the immediate need for appropriate act to prevent obstruction in drains the respondent Government of NCT, Delhi, and the district magistrate concerned failed to respond.

“We have forfeited the right to file objection,” the bench said.

“Considering the fact that Government of NCT, Delhi has to explain lot about the state of affairs which compelled initiation of proceedings in this case, we permit filing of the statement of Delhi government within a period of 10 days subject to payment of Rs. 25,000 as costs.

“The costs shall be paid within one week and only then they shall be permitted to file the reply in the registry,” it said.

The tribunal had earlier directed the city government and the civic bodies to restore expeditiously all water bodies and ensure that these remain clean and not become waste-dumping yards.

The green panel had said that water bodies surrounding colonies should be maintained and kept clean so that they become a source of natural beauty.

It had also approved a proposal put forward by the Delhi Jal Board to revive Rajokari water body in south-west Delhi and develop it in an aesthetic manner.

Supreme Court summons chief secretaries of Delhi, Haryana: Yamuna water

The Supreme Court today directed the chief secretaries of Haryana and Delhi to appear before it on Monday after the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) said it was not receiving enough water to supply to the national capital.

A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur took a strong note of the apathy shown by authorities in dealing with the water woes of the residents of the national capital.

“People are dying. But no urgency is being shown by you people,” the court said, directing senior officials of the two state governments to appear before it in person on April 23.

The Delhi government had informed the apex court it was in talks with Haryana for the release of 450 cusec of water of the Yamuna river daily for the national capital.

The supreme court was hearing a plea filed by the DJB alleging that Haryana had reduced by one-third the supply of Yamuna water to the national capital, leading to a grave water crisis.

The DJB has contended in its plea that Haryana was supplying Delhi only 330 cusec of water daily as against 450 cusec per day, which was agreed upon between the state and the Union Territory.

It has claimed that while the population of Delhi has increased phenomenally over the years, there has not been a commensurate rise in the water supply.

The DJB has said that due to the present curtailment in water supply to the Wazirabad reservoir, the plant is running at reduced capacity leading to “grave water crisis” in the city.

It had said the situation would “escalate” with the onset of summer and as the demand for drinking water shoots up.

It has sought directions from the apex court to the Haryana government to supply the full 450 cusec of water per day continuously and daily to the Wazirabad reservoir.

The Delhi High Court had recently told the Haryana government it has to stick to its 2014 direction specifying the amount of water to be released to Delhi every day.

Supreme Court agrees to Delhi Jal Board (DJB) plea on Haryana water supply to Delhi

 The Supreme Court today agreed to hear the plea of the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) alleging that Haryana was supplying 120 cusec less water to Delhi out of the 450 cusecs of water it was supposed to supply.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said it will hear the matter on April 2.

The counsel for the DJB said the Wazirabad water plant was supposed to get 450 cusec of water daily, but nowadays it is receiving only 330 cusec per day.

The Delhi High Court had recently told the Haryana government that it has to stick to its 2014 direction specifying the amount of water to be released to Delhi every day.

NGT directs Haryana to submit action plan on Yamuna

The National Green Tribunal today directed the Haryana government to submit an action plan to address the issue of ammonia and other pollutants in river Yamuna.

A bench headed by Justice Jawad Rahim asked the state government to file an affidavit stating short and long term measures which it proposes to combat the pollution in the river.

The green panel also asked the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to monitor the water at Wazirabad barrage and take remedial action if required.

During the proceedings, the CPCB submitted a report with regard to pollution levels of ammonia downstream at Khojkipur drain No 2 and Khojkipur drain.

The matter will be heard next on March 5.

The NGT had earlier directed the Delhi and Haryana governments to identify and address the sources of pollution in river Yamuna.

It had earlier ordered Delhi and Haryana governments to hold a meeting to resolve the issue of high ammonia content in the water being provided to the national capital.

Delhi Jal Board (DJB) had moved a plea in the tribunal plea alleging high ammonia in water being provided by the Haryana government to Delhi.

CPCB had submitted its analysis report of ammonia at Tajewala in Haryana, Wazirabad water treatment plant, Okhla and ITO barrage in Delhi.

According to the report, ammonia level at Hathnikund Barrage 0.6 mg per litre, 1.9 mg per litre at Wazirabad, 24.9 at ITO barrage on February 14 while at Okhla water treatment plant it was 0.8 mg per litre on February 15.

Acting on concerns over the health of the people of Delhi, the tribunal had directed the CPCB to analyse the samples of Yamuna water at the four points on DJB’s plea alleging high ammonia content in the water being provided by Haryana to Delhi.

While DJB had alleged that Haryana was supplying “poisoned sewage water” to the national capital which had 2.6 parts per million of ammonia, the counsel for Haryana had refuted the contention and said there was no breach of any agreement.

DJB, which supplies water to the city, had approached the tribunal demanding that Haryana be asked to take urgent steps to check the “dangerous level of ammonia” in river Yamuna.

Claiming that the water being released by the state was so polluted that it cannot be treated for drinking, the DJB had said it may cause “a huge and irreparable loss to the citizens of Delhi and has a potential for a grave health crisis and water crisis in the National Capital Region (NCR).”

The petition also claimed that when the water enters Haryana, the ammonia level is nil and very much treatable, whereas when the water enters Delhi, the level is very high.

Sewer workers death : Delhi HC asks authorities to implement procedure

Sewer workers death : Delhi HC asks authorities to implement procedure
Sewer workers death : Delhi HC asks authorities to implement procedure

The recent deaths of manual scavengers in the national capital has come under the scanner of the Delhi High Court which today sought a time-bound implementation of the procedure for cleaning sewers and septic tanks.

A bench of justices S Ravindra Bhat and Sunil Gaur was informed by the Delhi government that the Lieutenant Governor has recently set up a committee to examine various measures for the implementation of ‘The Prohibition of Employment of Manual Scavenger and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013’ and rules.

The court asked the three municipal corporations, Delhi Jal Board, Public Works Department, Delhi Cantonment Board, New Delhi Municipal Council and the divisional railway manager of Northern Railway to implement the procedure and to give a time frame within which it would be accomplished.

“You need to constitute rules and methodology,” the bench said and listed the matter for September 27.

The government’s counsel said the committee will have the mandate to prepare an action plan for cleaning of drains, sewer lines and septic tanks through mechanical means.

A report filed by the Delhi government said the committee will chalk out a road map to achieve 100 per cent mechanisation along with estimated time frame.

Its mandate would be to “prepare Standard Operating Practices (SOPs) for cleaning of sewer lines, sepctic tanks and covered drains having sewer like character. The SOPs prepared will take into account the various provisions of the Act and rules dealing with the safety, health and life insurance of the workers”.

The report said that the SoPs prepared by the committee shall be implemented by all the agencies diligently and if the work is executed through contract, the SOPs shall also be applicable to all the contractors.

The committee, which was formed on September 5, has to submit its report to the LG within a period of two weeks, it said.

The court also asked amicus curiae Sanjay Poddar and petitioner advocate Ashok Agarwal to inform it about the drawbacks of the model rules framed by the central government on the issue.

Taking a strong view of the recent deaths of manual scavengers, the high court had earlier directed the heads of all civic bodies in Delhi to explain how such activity was going on despite being prohibited under the law.

The court was informed by the amicus curiae in August that in little over a month, 10 people have died in four incidents while cleaning sewers in the national capital without any protective gear or safety measures in place.

All of them had suffocated to death due to the toxic fumes in the sewer lines.

The court was hearing of a PIL filed in 2007 for the rehabilitation of manual scavengers.

It had earlier termed as “disgraceful” the existence of manual scavenging in the city despite a law prohibiting such a practice and had said, “We are a country of poor people but not for the poor people.”

It is “ridiculous and shocking”, the court had observed when informed by the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) that one of the manual scavengers was a “graduate”.

The DSLSA, in an interim report, had said that there were manual scavengers in the national capital even after the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 came into force.

( Source – PTI )

NGT asks Delhi government to for report on quality of water

The National Green Tribunal has directed the Delhi government to submit a complete and comprehensive report on quality and quantity of water that is being supplied to end users at various localities of the national capital on random sample basis.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar asked the committee comprising environment secretary of the Delhi government, representatives from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the Delhi Jal Board (DJB), the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) and the municipal corporations to file the report before February 13.

“In the meanwhile, the NCT of Delhi would file a complete and comprehensive report which must be self-contained and comply with directions issued by the tribunal,” the bench said.

The tribunal had earlier taken exception to non-submission of a status report on quality of water supplied to households in the national capital by the Delhi government despite repeated directions.

Noting that not even a single report has been filed till date, the bench had summoned the environment secretary of the Delhi government with the report.

The issue of water supply in the capital had last year prompted the tribunal to seek the response of the city government in the matter.

The green panel had taken suo motu cognisance of a newspaper report, which had revealed that the “stinking and dirty” water flowing through water supply lines and the borewells were pumping out contaminated water.

Later, it had constituted a committee comprising the environment secretary and representatives from CPCB, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, DJB, and all municipal corporations and asked them to submit a complete and comprehensive report.

“This committee shall examine and get the areas identified where the ground water is contaminated as well as the directions that should be passed, whether prohibitory or precautionary, ensuring that it is not permitted to be extracted and in any case not distributed for human consumption…

“The committee will ensure that samples of the water from different areas are collected, analysed and reports be placed before it before submission of the final report,” it had said.

Don’t surrender the amount allotted for Yamuna: NGT to DJB

Don't surrender the amount allotted for Yamuna: NGT to DJB
Don’t surrender the amount allotted for Yamuna: NGT to DJB

The National Green Tribunal today directed Delhi Jal Board (DJB) not to surrender the amount allocated to it in the last fiscal for rejuvenation of Yamuna to the Delhi government.

The green panel also made it clear that DJB would spend these funds for restoration during the year and the implementation of its ‘Maili se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalisation Project’.

“In the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case, we direct that the amounts would not be surrendered and the same would remain attached…for secure execution and compliance of the main judgment dated January 13, 2015 which is entirely based on the proposal submitted by the DJB itself and accepted by the Principal Committee constituted under the Judgement,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.

The tribunal passed the direction after the counsel appearing for the DJB expressed apprehension that since the new fiscal year has started, the amount available with it will have to be surrendered.

The counsel said that in such a scenario the Board would be devoid of funds while contractors have to be paid for the work they have already done.

“Counsel appearing for the DJB has expressed an apprehension that because of March 31, 2016, the amount available with DJB would have to be surrendered while works have been executed and the contractors are to be paid,” the bench noted.

NGT had earlier slammed DJB for spending money on Yamuna without its permission and directed it not to spend a “single penny” on rejuvenation of the river without its approval.

The green panel had took exception to the fact that despite its specific directions, which restrained DJB from spending without NGT’s prior approval, the board had incurred expenses on drain integration work.

NGT had earlier constituted a committee and asked it to submit report on the actual discharge from each drain that joins Yamuna and the measure load on points where Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) are sought to be constructed under Phase-I of the project (Najafgarh drain to Delhi Gate drain).

The panel comprised member secretary of Central Pollution Control Board and Delhi Pollution Control Committee, chief engineer of DJB and Delhi Development Authority and professor R Kosa from IIT-Delhi.

( Source – PTI )

Delhi HC asks DJB to extract water from colony

Delhi HC asks DJB to extract water from colony
Delhi HC asks DJB to extract water from colony

Expressing concern over high water table in a South Delhi colony where buildings were facing seepage problems, Delhi High Court has observed that the water needed to be extracted from there and directed DJB to obtain the requisite permission for it.

A bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva directed the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) to obtain permission from the deputy commissioner to extract the water from Siddharth Extension area and work out modalities, including the charges, for supplying it to the Railways.

It gave DJB three weeks to carry out the exercise.

The court passed the order after DJB said that as per orders of National Green Tribunal, the deputy commissioner’s permission was required for extraction of water by setting up borewells.

The bench said the requirement of permission was due to alarmingly low water tables in the city. However, since there was a very high water table in the colony, there should be no difficulty in obtaining permission.

It directed the DJB and Railways to coordinate with each other and listed the matter for further hearing on January 13.

The court was hearing a PIL by Mohan Lal Ahuja, a resident of Siddharth Extension who had claimed that the issue of high water table has persisted in the colony since 2011 and has caused extensive seepage to the foundations of buildings there and could affect their structural integrity.

According to Ahuja and even DJB, water has been found at a depth of 1.5 metres from the surface.

The court had on several occasions directed the DJB to give a definitive plan on how the huge reserve of 63000 cubic metres of groundwater in that area can be utilised. DJB had said that the water cannot be used for drinking as it had high bacterial content.

Thereafter, the Railways had expressed willingness to use the water as long as it was supplied to it.

On July 8, the Central Ground Water Authority had submitted a report estimating that a total of 63,000 cubic metres of ground water was available in the colony and through de-watering for 60 days, the groundwater level would decline to three metres.

 ( Source – PTI )

DJB ex-engineer put on trial in 2006 rape case

DJB ex-engineer put on trial in 2006 rape case
DJB ex-engineer put on trial in 2006 rape case

A Delhi court has decided to put on trial a former engineer of Delhi Jal Board (DJB) accused of raping a senior executive of a private firm in 2006, saying a prima facie case is made out against him.

While putting on trial Sarat Chandra, the court discharged two other DJB engineers — Praveen Bhargava and Ramesh Thakur, who were also accused of raping the executive.

“…Prima facie case under section 328 (administering stupefying drug with intent to cause hurt) read with section 376 (rape) of IPC is made out against accused Sarat Chander.

“No case is made out against the accused persons namely Praveen Bhargava and Ramesh Thakur. They are discharged of the offence punishable under section 376 (2)(g) (gang rape) of IPC, under which they have been summoned,” Additional Sessions Judge Sanjiv Jain said.

The court directed the accused Sarat Chander to appear before District and Sessions Judge on October 8.

Additional Public Prosecutor A T Ansari said after Delhi High Court quashed an FIR and subsequent criminal proceedings against the three officials, the state had moved the Supreme Court which had returned the matter to the trial court with a direction to proceed afresh on the point of charge.

The High Court had on May 24 allowed the plea of the DJB engineers and quashed the trial court order summoning the officials to stand trial in the case despite a closure report filed by police stating that they were falsely implicated.

In its final report, filed on June 2, 2010, Delhi Police had said there was “no sufficient evidence” against the accused and argued that the case be closed.

After going through the final report, the trial court had refused to accept the police version.

The trial judge had also trashed the allegations of the police that the victim was acting at the behest of her employer to malign the officials saying there were two witnesses who corroborated the allegations of the victim.

The victim was a senior executive with a private firm engaged in contract work for DJB. In her complaint, she had alleged that she was raped by the accused at her rented house on October 8, 2006, after being offered a pastry laced with sedatives.

She had alleged that the trio had also videotaped her being gangraped and used the footage to blackmail her. She had said that she used to meet them in connection with contracts awarded to the firm.

 

( Source – PTI )