Delhi government plans bill to save Yamuna

AGRA: Hundreds of river activists and environmentalists organized a walk demanding release of water in Yamuna and speed up cleaning programmes to save the river from further degradation.

River Activists, Environmentalists Walk to Save Yamuna
River Activists, Environmentalists Walk to Save Yamuna

The march, a part of the River Connect Campaign, commenced from Haathi Ghat near Agra Fort to Etmauddaula view point park last night.
Dr Devashish Bhattacharya, an environmentalist, said the march was organized to draw attention towards receding water levels of the river which also pose a threat to the foundation of Taj Mahal.

“We need a minimal flow of water in the river not only for drinking, but also for the safety of the Mughal monuments along its banks,” he said.

Dr Anand Rai, ex-NASA scientist, said Yamuna was a repository of culture and religion. “Its reduction to a sewage canal was a matter of serious concern,” he said.

In a resolution, participating citizens demanded a barrage on the Yamuna river, a minimal flow of water round the year, cleaning and repair of ghats, constitution of river police to patrol the banks, action against polluters and tapping of the drains opening into the river.

“This is an issue that the authorities and governments should put himself in the matter, the waters of Yamuna has exceeded critical levels of pollution.

Dr. Devashish Bhattacharya is one of the leading environmentalists who is making a call to everyone who wants and even the government and its authorities to be part of this great task of preserving and reduce the risk that the River Yamuna to become one source of poisoning, even for the major places of international tourism.” BVAN

Delhi government plans bill to save Yamuna

New Delhi: There seems to be hope yet for the dying Yamuna river.
Delhi’s AAP government is planning to bring new legislation to eliminate multiplicity of authorities that has contributed to the Yamuna, once northern India’s pride and lifeline, turning into a hugely polluted waterway.

Delhi government plans bill to save Yamuna
Delhi government plans bill to save Yamuna

The legislation will enable the Delhi government to create a separate agency to revive the river which runs for 48 km through the eastern fringe of the national capital.
The trouble is the river, venerated by Hindus, is maintained by different departments, working at times at cross purposes, just like more areas of governance in the capital.
The proposed bill is likely to be named the Yamuna River and Flood Plain Development Bill, a government official told IANS.
The purpose of the bill is to set up one single authority, and it could be named the Yamuna Development Corporation Ltd.

A note pertaining to the legislation says the bill will “make special provision for securing, cleaning, rejuvenation, conservation and floodplain and development of the river”.
At present, multiple agencies are engaged in maintaining the river, which is the source of water for over 70 percent of Delhi’s population.
The Delhi Development Authority, a central government agency, looks after 22 km of the floodplain of the river. It is one among a dozen authorities engaged in the task.
Among the other agencies which have a say over the Yamuna are the Delhi Jal Board, the irrigation department, the revenue department and the flood control department.
“The proposed agency is a good step,” the Delhi government official said. “Multiple agencies have made the tough task of cleaning the Yamuna more complicated.”
The Yamuna originates at Yamunotri in the Himalayan range. It flows a total of 1,376 km before merging with the Ganga at Allahabad — to form the holy Triveni.
The river passes through Uttarakhand, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. It is considered relatively clean until it reaches Delhi where a combination of municipal, household and industrial waste begin to choke and kill the river.
The river is considered virtually dead in much of Uttar Pradesh.
Since setting up a separate authority will have financial implications, the proposed bill has to be ratified by the central government once it is passed in the Delhi assembly where the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has a good majority.
Asked if the bill might get stuck due the rivalry between the central and Delhi governments, the official said both sides were on the same page on the Yamuna.
“In fact, the decision to bring the bill was an outcome of a meeting between the central and Delhi governments,” the official added. It is learnt that the proposed authority will have officials from both the central and Delhi governments.
A whopping Rs.1,500 crore has been spent since 1993 on sprucing up the Yamuna but critics say the money seems to have gone down the drain. Cleaning up the Yamuna was one of the election promises of the AAP, which rode to power in February. The Yamuna also figures on the agenda of the Narendra Modi government.
(Gaurav Sharma can be contacted at

Green Tribunal issues notice to L&T for violating norms on Yamuna

The National Green Tribunal today slapped a notice on the Infrastructure giant Larsen & Turbo(L&T) for undertaking construction activities on the flood plains of Yamuna river.

The construction work was part of Rs 2101 crore road project which would connect Sarai Kale Khan and Mayur Vihar through an elevated corridor across Yamuna river.

The plea was filed by environmentalist Manoj Mishra who alleged that the company was violating the green panel’s previous order of January 18, 2015.

“Despite the clear direction from the tribunal barring any form of construction activities in the floodplains of Yamuna, the activities of levelling the flood plains and operation of batching plants are going opposite Mayur Vihar in the East Bank and the Sarai Kale Khan in the West bank,” Mr Rahul Choudhary, who appeared for complainant here, said.

The company on the behalf of PWD department had undertaken the construction of the elevated bridge cum road between Mayur Vihar and Sarai Kale Khan area. “It was brought to attention that the DDA had granted the consent to the company for construction at the West bank near Sarai Kale Khan despite the tribunal’s order. Additionally, the UP Irrigation Department have not been taken into the loop for approval by the company over the ongoing construction at the East bank near Anand Vihar area,” Mr Mishra said. The petitioner stated that the river banks has been illegally dumped by putting soil on the the newly proposed phase III extension of the Barapulla elevated road from Ring road to Mayur Vihar.

The environmental activist said: “The proposed elevated bridge cum road would affect the drainage pattern of the river Yamuna and will restrict the flow of the river.”

The bench has fixed the next hearing for October 30. Earlier on January 18, the green bench issued direction that any real estate developers will not carry out any construction,temporary and permanent, on the flood plains of river, adding that defaulters would be fined Rs 50,000 for violating the norm.UNI AP RSA 2018

CPCB directs municipal bodies not to discharge untreated sewage into rivers

New Delhi: In an attempt to stop pollution of rivers and prevent further deterioration of surface water, groundwater and coastal water, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has directed municipal bodies across India not to discharge any untreated sewage into rivers and other water bodies.

CPCB directs municipal bodies not to discharge untreated sewage into rivers
CPCB directs municipal bodies not to discharge untreated sewage into rivers The CPCB, which is India’s apex anti-pollution watchdog, has also directed municipal authorities to set up new sewage treatment plants (STPs) to cover the entire urban area they oversee.


More than 60% of sewage generated by urban India is untreated and enters water bodies like rivers, polluting waters and making it unfit for human consumption.
“Untreated sewage shall not be disposed into the river or at any other recipient system. Local/urban body to set up STPs of adequate capacity and provide sewerage system to cover the entire local/urban areas and to ensure complete treatment of sewage generated,” said the CPCB’s letter sent to municipalities and state governments across India.
In urban India, untreated sewage polluting water bodies has had adverse effect on human health and aquatic life. According to CPCB’s estimates, sewage generation in urban India is estimated to be around 62,000 million litres per day (MLD), but installed sewage treatment capacity of 816 STPs across the country is only 23,277 MLD (around 38%).
With urban population increasing, the sewage problem is only expected to worsen, resulting in pollution of groundwater, surface water and coastal water. As per Census 2011, over 370 million people are living in urban areas and the number is expected to touch the 900 million mark by 2050.
The CPCB letter said its performance studies showed that STPs are underutilised and not meeting prescribed standards. The pollution watchdog urged municipal authorities to ensure proper maintenance of STPs.
“The municipal authority shall properly manage the wastewater flowing in drains and take required actions to ensure that such wastewater is treated and disposed off,” the said CPCB, calling for a time-bound action plan for proper collection, treatment and disposal of sewage.
According to water quality monitoring carried out by CPCB at 1,275 locations covering 445 rivers across India, 718 locations do not meet water quality criteria. The study also revealed 302 polluted river stretches on 275 rivers along 35 metropolitan cities and 615 urban centres.
The CPCB may have woken up too late, said one activist.
“Central and state pollution control boards were created under the Water Act 1974 to specifically implement the Water Act. But this has been brazenly violated by all municipalities and pollution control boards have done nothing beyond giving notices,” said Manoj Misra, convener of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan, a non-governmental organization working for rejuvenation of river Yamuna.
“But time for notices is long gone and now FIRs (first information reports) should be filed against erring municipalities and their officials. We don’t fine any seriousness in such letters..,” Misra said.

Yamuna May be Less Polluted This Durga Puja

NEW DELHI: If all goes well, the Yamuna river may be less polluted this Durga Puja. Puja committees across Delhi seem to have gone all out to ensure that the idols of goddess Durga are made using eco-friendly materials.

Yamuna May be Less Polluted This Durga Puja
Yamuna May be Less Polluted This Durga Puja

This follows a National Green Tribunal (NGT) order that prohibits immersion of the idols made using non-biodegradable materials — because they further pollute an already polluted Yamuna.
Those organising Durga Pujas here say they are aware of the NGT fiat.
“Our idols have been prepared using natural colours. We are using products which do not cause any harm to the environment,” Shekher Guha, Secretary of Delhi’s C.R. Park Mela Ground Durga Puja Committee in south Delhi, told IANS.
Guha’s team organises one of the biggest — and perhaps most crowded — Durga Pujas in the capital, the main reason being C.R. Park is dominantly populated by Bengalis.
Puja committees have restrained the idol makers from using chemicals, paints, glitters and plastics which don’t get dissolved in the water body, he said.
The NGT had in September banned immersion of idols made from non-biodegradable material like quick-setting gypsum plaster, also known as Plaster of Paris, or plastic in the Yamuna river.
“Immersion should be allowed only of (idols) made from biodegradable material and not plastic/Plaster of Paris. Only those colours should be used on the idols which are environment- friendly,” the NGT had said.
Guha said the idol markers had embraced the idea of a “pollution-free puja”.
“A few organisers have even prepared small ponds near the ‘pandal’ where they plan to immerse the smaller idols,” Guha said.
Pradip Majumder, vice president of the South Delhi Durga Puja Joint Procession Committee, explained to IANS the steps being taken to comply with the NGT order. He said cranes and other machinery would be deployed at the Kalindi Kunj Ghat along the Yamuna to scoop out the idols within minutes of their immersion.
Every year thousands of idols of Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesh and Kartik are immersed into the Yamuna, resulting in further deterioration of its pollution levels.
Delhi, home to a huge Bengali population, organises hundreds of Durga Pujas every year. Majumder couldn’t estimate the total in Delhi but said south Delhi itself has played host to “100 Durga Pujas”.
A senior Delhi government official told IANS that the administration was going all out to ensure the NGT order.
“We are taking adequate measures to see that the pollution level in the Yamuna doesn’t go up because of Durga Puja,” he said.
Yamuna, which Hindus consider a holy river, originates at Yamunotri, in the Himalayan range. Its water quality is generally considered “okay” till it flows through Haryana and reaches Delhi where it flows in the capital’s eastern fringe. This is where all the immersions take place.
When the Yamuna enters Uttar Pradesh, pollution intensifies — making the once lively river, which merges with the Ganges in Allahabad, dirty as well as stinking in most places.

Bhai Dooj celebrations: Over 1 lakh pilgrims throng Yamuna ghats

Mathura, Nov 13: Over one lakh pilgrims thronged the ghats in Mathura and Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh on Friday and took a dip in Yamuna river on the occasion of Bhai Dooj, officials said. Thousands of brothers and sisters congregated at the Vishram Ghat in Mathura for the special bath meant to appease the Hindu god of death, Yam Raj.

Bhai Dooj
Bhai Dooj

Bhai Dooj Priest Yamuna Das Chaubey said the river is believed to be the sister of Yam Raj, and brothers and sisters should take a dip together on the day. “Only in Mathura, you have a temple of brother and sister,” he said. The Yamuna ghats in Vrindavan and Mathura were swept clean and barricades put up to regulate crowds. “Over one lakh pilgrims, including many NRIs, reached the ghats on Friday,” an official said. A shopkeeper near the Dwarkadheesh Temple said all hotels near the ghats were packed with devotees. On Thursday, a day after Diwali, community feasting with 56 different food items in the Sri Krishna temple was the chief attraction for many. Many started arriving in the Goverdhan hill town for the ‘parikrama’ and the celebrations. A large number of foreign pilgrims are in Mathura, chanting bhajans as they perform the 21-km long ‘parikrama’. Goverdhan puja is celebrated in Agra division that includes the districts of Aligarh, Firozabad and Hathras too. The Goverdhan is made of cow-dung and the community collectively worships the deity with sweets and milk. The immersion in the river or ponds takes place the next day, according to another priest, Mahesh Pandit Shukla. For the past few years, the size of the Goverdhan has been increasing and is up to 20 feet now. IANS

“Thousands of brothers and sisters gather to worship and bathe in the holy waters of the Yamuna which is a fact too much for thousands of pilgrims each year visit Mathura and Vrindavan

Calling the Goverment and ministers to participate in these beautiful celebrations contributing mainly in the welfare and care of the Sacred river with different cleaning programs and other tasks that have been forgotten over time which is funtamental for a good reception of tourists and pilgrims from all parts of the world and obviously for the welfare for local residents themselves” BVAN

Vrindavan struggles to manage its solid waste

Vrindavan, Oct 30 (IANS): Uttar Pradesh’s holy town of Vrindavan, where it is said Lord Krishna spent his childhood in ancient times, is faced with a major problem of disposing off its solid waste material.
Local activists today say the municipal body had failed to address the problem of disposing solid waste, despite the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) directives.
On September 29, the NGT gave the municipal body two weeks to evolve a process and mechanism to collect and scientifically dispose of solid waste.
It was directed to develop proper pits, cover the waste with soil and spray disinfectants and seal it with plastic sheets. But a landfill site has been identified and dump the solid waste there so far. But work on spraying and covering is yet to begin.
Local authorities have also failed to stop garbage burning in the open.
“Heaps of solid waste dumped around street corners are being openly burnt, creating pollution,” said “Friends of Vrindavan” convener Jagan Nath Poddar.
He said there has not been any check on the garbage being consigned to flames releasing highly toxic pollutants in the air. “The garbage bins kept at various points have not been emptied and cleaned. The tendency is to burn the garbage in the bin itself which become incinerators.”
“Since there is no mechanism for collecting domestic waste and garbage many households and establishments are seen burning and creating a huge cloud of smoke that often makes breathing difficult,” he added.
Activists said only the garbage is no more being littered around the river bank as was happening earlier.
Considering the quantity of garbage produced by temples and households in Vrindavan, the site for the land fill identified by the municipality is hardly sufficient and likely to get filled up within two years, a resident said.
Also, in Vrindavan the municipality does not have a permanent executive officer to execute orders and monitor the working of various agencies.
“One of the main problems has been difficult to eradicate for cleaning programs of the different Organisations in Vrindavan is the burning of waste in open places which has been one of the main sources of environmental pollution in recent years because it does not there is no mechanism to remove solid waste, villagers can not find any other solution than to burn, but this has brought great harm to the environment.
Authorities are expected  provide support to these activists, who have already begun work which would be of much benefit to this holy city.
we must begin to create better ideas of how to dispose of solid waste in a more environmentally friendly and healthy way” BVAN

UP comes up with Model City scheme

ncertainty looms over the ambitious `smart city’ project of the NDA government at the centre, the Akhilesh Yadav government in UP has formalized its very own `model city’ scheme. The UP government is learnt to have drawn out a blue print of the facilities which would be provided in the `model cities’ proposed to be selected by a panel headed by UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav soon.

Sources in the housing and urban planning department said that the project envisages setting up of quality basic facilities otherwise absent in any of the cities in UP. The plan essentially focusses on nine parameters namely: traffic, civic infrastructure, educational institutes, environment, heritage, affordable housing, public grievance, social security and public awareness.
To begin with traffic, a selected model city will have all its major crossings free of encroachment; foot path, foot over-bridge and underpass for pedestrians, establishment of non-vehicle zones, vending zones, construction of bus stops on all crucial points and better bus connectivity to improve public transport. The plan, interestingly, does not speak of a `metro rail’ which has already been initiated in Lucknow and is proposed to be set up in other important towns. Though, it mentions of `cycle tracks’ and promotion of a bicycle as an important mode of transport.
The plan also seeks to address the poor quality civic facilities which stare on the face of people in the state. A model city, thus, will have a robust drainage system and domestic waste segregated and recycled. Alignment of electricity poles which, at times, have resulted in often fatal accidents, is also proposed. To provide a better and uninterrupted power supply the cables are proposed to be put underground. The street lights in a model city will have LED bulbs instead of incandescent/sodium lamps. The plan also speaks of establishment of public toilets and wi-fi at various important markets.
The scheme also envisages repair and maintenance of existing educational institutes, including nursery and primary schools, besides primary health centres and hospitals. To improve the environment, a model city will have its open spaces used for tree plantation, water bodies revived and rain water harvesting implemented in important installations, including government offices. Besides this, the key heritage points are proposed to be conserved and local handicrafts including pottery, glass, carpet, and `itr’ promoted on a larger scale.

The proposed `model city’ will address the needs of having affordable houses for urban poor. For this, the development authorities will have to promote the ambitious `Samajwadi Awas Yojana’ of the state government. As for the law and order and social security, the scheme proposes to set up police outposts, electronic surveillance at various key points in the city.
* Major crossings free of encroachment
* Construction of foot path, foot overbridge and underpass for pedestrians.
* Establishment of non-vehicle zones, vending zones
* Construction of bus stops
* Construction of `cycle tracks’
Civic and power

* Proper drainage system
* Domestic waste segregated and recycled.
* Alignment of electricity poles and cables put underground.
* The street lights to have LED bulbs
* Establishment of public toilets and wi-fi at various important markets.

* Repair and maintenance of existing educational institutes
* Repair of primary health centres and hospitals.
* Open spaces to be used for tree plantation
* Water bodies revived and rain water harvesting implemented.


* Heritage points conserved

* Local handicrafts promoted on a larger scale.

Housing and Law and Order
“Traffic, civil infrastructure, education institutes, environment, heritage, affordable housing, public complaints, social security and public awareness are one of the many promises that the government is offering, to those of selected Indian cities.

Certainly on that list should appear Vrindavan” BVAN

2015 saw frequent judicial interventions on environmental pollution

The year just gone by witnessed frequent judicial interventions to curb environmental pollution which finally forced the authorities to act, and one of the measures takenby them was the novel experiment of odd-even formula, introduced in the Capital from January 1 to restrict the number of cars on roads.
Whether its the pollution of the Ganga and the Yamuna rivers, the illegal construction in eco-sensitive zones, or the deteriorating quality of the air, courts have cracked their whip on the erring entities.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) in a significant and far reaching measure put a brake on the sale of diesel-run vehicles by ordering that no such vehicle would be registered till January 6.

Acting tough on the alarming pollution level in the national capital and its suburbs, the Tribunal directed a complete ban on burning of waste in open including garbage, leaves, plastic, crop and said violators will be fined Rs 5000.

The Delhi government this year faced the wrath of the Tribunal as well as High Court, which, in one of its direction, dubbed the national capital as “gas chamber”, due to its worsened air quality.

The Supreme Court barred registration of new diesel vehicles till March 2016, prompting the Delhi government to launch the odd-even car rationing scheme to reduce the number of cars on thecapital’s roads.
The Green Bench also directed all commercial vehicles entering Delhi to pay environmental compensation charge in addition to the toll tax.

Observing that crop burning was a serious issue which contributed to global warming and environmental pollution, the green panel imposed fines ranging from Rs 2,500 to Rs 15,000 on farmers indulging in burning of agricultural residues and asked the state governments of Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh along with Delhi to act on the issue.

The Green court introduced its plan to clean Ganga from Gomukh (the origin of River Ganga) to downstream Bay of Bengal, imposing a complete ban on plastic and directingthat if any hotel, ashram or dharamshala disposed waste into the river, it will pay an environmental compensation of Rs 5,000 per day.
Taking serious note of the rampant illegal construction activities on the banks on Ganga river, the Green panel directed the Uttarakhand government to create a 200m buffer zone from the highest flood level at the banks from Gomukh to Hardwar.

The NGT also acted tough against rafting and camping activities which had been barred from Kaudilya to Rishikesh on the banks of Ganga till the regulatory regime comes into force but later allowed the adventure sports rafting.
The tanneries situated in Kanpur came under the scanner of NGT that directed authorities to strictly comply with mandatory pollution norms and further warned them of closure.

Cracking its whip on pollution in Yamuna River, the green bench passed a slew of directions including a fine of Rs 5000 on those dumping waste or religious article in the river and directed that every household in the city will have to pay a minimum environment compensation of Rs 100 for generating sewage.

In one of its significant order, the NGT banned the immersion of idols except those made of bio-degradable materials and barred any commercial and construction activity on the flood plains of Yamuna river.
Slamming the Haryana government and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) over delay in construction of Western and Eastern Peripheral Expressways, it directed the authorities concerned to complete the work in a timely manner in order to divert the traffic from entering the capital.

The Tribunal also slapped a fine on the Akshardham temple management and Delhi Development Authority (DDA) here for carrying out expansion without prior environmental clearance.

The NGT also issued direction to the stoppage of construction activity in certain areas in Noida Extension and Gurgaon by taking note of media reports on air pollution caused by building activities.

Unauthorised harnessing of groundwater for construction purposes also caught the Green tribunal’s attention which has issued notice to builders in Delhi-NCR and imposed hefty fines on five-star hotels, malls and hospitals for not installing proper rainwater harvesting systems in their premises.

Concerned over the worrying pace of melting glaciers, the Green bench ordered a complete ban on commercial activities, including para-gliding and snow scooters, and issued a permit for visitors, to limit the number of vehicle, at 13,050 feet Rohtang Pass. The NGT also ordered an installation of CNG fuel stations in Manali.UNI AP RSA 1144
“Serious action on some of the most important problems of pollution has taken the Indian government against erring entities.

Measures the government should take also in rural areas where there are serious problems of pollution of all kinds, especially in pollution levels in rivers and solid waste.” BVAN

Vrindavan set to become model city

Mathura, 2016.01.10 (Vrindavan Today): Vrindavan is set to become a model city. The pilgrimage town has been short listed by the State government to be developed as a model city.

Gopinath temple Vrindavan
Radha Gopinath temple, one of the main temples of Vrindavan

The state government has released the names of seven cities in which the name of Vrindavan is also included. Visitors will be benefitted with special facilities that will be made available once the projects under this ambitious plan are executed completely.
The model city program is likely to be the combination of several projects including the protection of the temples, development of green areas, street lighting system, development of a cycling path, solid waste management, building toilets, garbage collection, etc. Improvement of the Vrindavan Parikrama Marg, developing separate parking zones for e-rickshaws, preventing extortion from the visitors also make up part of the plan. The comprehensive plan will help give Vrindavan a facelift.
For a full description of what is included in the UP model cities program, see the following: UP comes up with Model Cities scheme (TOI).
The district administration had earlier sent the proposal to the state government. Now the government has approved it after giving careful deliberation to certain priorities. Vrindavan was given priority over Mathura to be included in the model cities list, even though the district administration recommended the names of both cities.
DM Rajesh Kumar said, “Though many proposals for the development of Mathura district are pending with the government, we are hopeful that the selection of Vrindavan will boost its tourism prospects.”

“Vrindavan consider one of these 7 cities models is a great satisfaction for a bright future that will inspire thousands of pilgrims and tourists from around the world to contribute to the care they deserve this holy city.

We take note the following approvals from the government on the different ideas and proposals that have to Vrindavan” BVAN