In its fifth report submitted to National Green Tribunal, the Yamuna Monitoring Committee, set up by the tribunal to monitor projects related to the river’s rejuvenation, has highlighted systemic flaws that have delayed the setting up of sewage treatment plants. The report states that while the Coronation Pillar STP should have been completed by now, it is 25% behind schedule, while Kondli, Rithala and Okhla STPs are lagging, respectively, by 26%, 43% and 14%.
The report cited as such flaws the lackadaisical roles of project management consultants (PMC), delay in permission for tree felling, cash flow constraints and the overall role of Delhi Jal Board and its disinterested approach. It also pointed out that the interceptor sewer project has failed to meet its 2014 deadline due to this casual approach by the various agencies.
PMCs were appointed by DJB to assist its engineers and local staff to review the designs, plans and programmes prepared by the contractors. The monitoring panel’s report said PMCs did not highlight the issues relating to delays, as required of them, resulting in no urgency to meet the timelines. “A perusal of the list of inspections and review meetings held with PMCs brings out that from April 2019 as many as 14 site inspections and 27 review meetings were held at different levels,” the report said. “Only one meeting was held with Member (Drainage) and none under the chairmanship of the CEO. During discussion the chief engineer and his SE did not exhibit the sense of ownership, or a detailed knowledge of the obstacles and clearly lacked the persuasive ability needed to garner support from senior officers.”
The report also pulled up DJB, saying seven demi-official and 14 minutes-of-the-meeting letters sent to the water utility and Delhi government received ‘nil’ response. “There is reason to believe that the communications from NMCG (National Mission for Clean Ganga) have been handled in a very routine manner at the level of the engineers of different levels and were never re-submitted for intervention on inter-departmental matters,” the report stated.
Citing the repeated cases of slippages in project implementation, both in Yamuna Action Plan-III and the interceptor sewer project, the panel said this called for the examination of the decision-making processes within DJB. “Such delays are against the tenets of good governance and financial control. The monitoring of YAP-III projects was expected to be done using modern tools. This needs to be instituted with a sense of urgency considering the impact on the environment due to continued presence of sewage in the River Yamuna and its drains,” the report stated.
Manoj Mishra, activist and convener of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan, was happy the panel’s report to NGT strongly argued that unless systemic shortcomings in concerned government agencies like DJB, DDA, etc were rectified, there was little hope of the river’s rejuvenation. “We welcome the report’s recommendations on a performance audit of DJB. Something similar for DDA is also in order,” said Mishra
Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by Water Today staff and is generated from news feeds. Source: Times Of India.