Rs 5,000 crore spent by Delhi in 27 years, but Yamuna continues to die
The Sunday Guardian|November 14, 2021
Twenty-seven years have passed, several promises made, multiple deadlines missed, three Yamuna Action Plans devised and implemented”, over Rs 5,000 crore spent, yet the 22 km stretch of Yamuna that passes through Delhi remains choked and dying.
DIBYENDU MONDAL

As per media reports, successive Delhi governments have spent a cumulative Rs 5,400 crore to clean the Yamuna since 1993, out of which the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government has spent Rs 700 crore since 2015.

According to an RTI reply received by The Sunday Guardian in July this year from the Delhi Jal Board, one of the nodal agencies for the Clean Yamuna project, the Delhi government had received a fund of Rs 618.50 crore under the Yamuna Action Plan III from the Central government and had spent around Rs 687 crore for cleaning the Yamuna.

The RTI reply to The Sunday Guardian further states that the projects which the Delhi government had undertaken with these funds include rehabilitation of sewers, waste water treatment plants and consultancy services for Yamuna Action Plan.

While the Central governments' Ministry of Water Resources, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation in a press release in December 2018 had said that the Ministry had released a sum of Rs 2,361.08 crore in 2018 to the Delhi government for 11 projects for cleaning the Yamuna.

Despite thousands of crores being put into cleaning the Yamuna in Delhi over the last few years, the river is dead/dying in the 22 km stretch that passes through Delhi.

According to environmental experts and river conservation activists, a river is termed as a dead river when the river becomes incapable of housing any flora or fauna in its bed due to the presence of poisonous pollutants in it.

According to the Delhi Jal Board's water quality status of River Yamuna, the river becomes virtually dead as soon as it enters Delhi from Haryana's Palla, with the dissolved oxygen level in the water becoming unfit for survival of any flora and fauna. The faecal Coliform in the river also rises to an exorbitant level, sometimes 500 times more than what is desirable to be in a river.

In October 2021, the Dissolved Oxygen (DO) Level in the Wazirabad stretch of Yamuna after it entered Delhi was about 1.9 mg/liter, while the permissible limit for flora and fauna to survive in a river is at least 5 mg/1.

As the river moves downstream into Delhi, the DO level in the Yamuna further decreases. At a point where the Yamuna meets with the Shahadra drain, downstream of Okhla barrage, the DO level in Yamuna becomes zero. The faecal Coliform (which is released from human and animal excreta) in the Yamuna at the Wazirabad area is about 11,000 MPN/100 ml and as the river meets the Shahadra and Tughlakabad drains as it flows into Delhi the faecal Coliform matter in the Yamuna increases to about 94,000 MPN/100 ml.

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