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National Green Tribunal taps IIT's expertise

Seeks advice on dumping of waste in Yamuna, coverage of stormwater drains The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday reserved its final orders on two applications, one with regard to dumping of waste and debris and encroachment in the Yamuna’s floodplains, and the other challenging civic agencies’ coverage of stormwater drains hampering drainage, while it sought technical advice from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, before passing its final order. “There should be a prohibition on discharge of sewage into the Yamuna. At present, sewage is being discharged into stormwater drains at 28 main points.

 

Take this in a separate pipeline and take it 80 km away from the city, build a sewage treatment plant and ensure the sewage is treated entirely,” said Justice Swatanter Kumar before issuing the order on Tuesday. The Bench has requested Professor A.K. Gosain of Department of Civil Engineering at IIT-Delhi to submit a two-page technical advice on the stormwater drains of the city and what should be done to preserve them. The Bench has also asked for advice on how maintenance of stormwater drains, some of which are hundreds years old, may help check and reduce pollution in the Yamuna. It has asked for the Director of IIT-Delhi to be present at the Tribunal on May 30.

 

The NGT was hearing a 2012 application by Manoj Mishra of the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan related to dumping of solid waste and construction debris into the Yamuna along with a 2013 application by the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan challenging the coverage of the city’s stormwater drains under the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD)’s Shahdara Link Drain project. “These drains used to be the tributaries of Yamuna and now they are being destroyed and being used to carry sewage,” said Manoj Mishra, the applicant in NGT. Mr. Mishra said covering of stormwater drains could lead to urban flooding, loss of natural green cover, and also loss of groundwater recharge potential.

 

It would also make it difficult to de-silt drains, he said. On January 27, a committee headed by Secretary (Environment) inspected Satpula drain (in Chirag Dilli, Panchsheel Enclave, Defence Colony) and Shahdara drain and recommended that stormwater drains not be covered as it was harming the local ecology and reducing total flow area. The committee said that the covering of drains may further lead to encroachments through setting up of markets, and parking lots. It suggested that trees be planted along stormwater drains. The next hearing is on May 30.

 

  Hindu, Delhi, Thursday 29th May 2014