NEW DELHI: It seems that Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP Government may not be able to fulfil its poll promise to revive the ‘dead’ Yamuna, as both the Japan International Cooperative Agency (JICA) and the Union Urban Development Ministry are reluctant to finance the Delhi Jal Board (DJB)plan to clean up the river.
The state government would need an astronomical Rs 20,000 crore for the ambitious project. And the matter came to light recently when the Union Government’s Water Resources River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Secretary Shashi Shekhar wrote to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) chairman Justice Swatanter Kumar stating that it would be difficult for any government to provide a huge amount to the tune of Rs 3,000 crore in a single year or two such projects.
Shekhar -- who is also the chairman of the Principal Committee on financing of sewerage treatment projects of the DJB for cleaning up the Yamuna -- said he along with the Chief Secretary and Finance Secretary of the city administration, Additional Secretary, Union Urban Development Ministry and CEO, DJB, had discussed the issue in detail.
The discussion was a follow-up to the meeting chaired by Justice Kumar, in which directions had been issued to the Principal Committee to go into the issue of funding for the Jal Board’s projects and also recommend sources for financing the projects given that JICA had not agreed to finance projects proposed on the Najafgarh drain and the Urban Development Ministry had also showed reluctance to finance such projects, where costing had not been properly done. In his letter, Shekhar said, “The Committee discussed that it would be difficult for any government/ government body to provide huge amount to the order of Rs 3,000 crore in a single year or two. Secondly, the total amount required to complete the Master Plan is of the order of Rs 20,000 crore and that only on implementation of the entire Master Plan, Yamuna would be free from untreated sewage.”
Shekhar said that the Panel had also discussed the fact that some of the projects implemented by the Delhi Jal Board, failed to provide the desired results and hence, needed rehabilitation and upgradation.
He said that many Delhi Jal Board Sewage Treatment Plants did not meet the quality standards prescribed by the Central Pollution Control Board for treated water.
The letter said that the Committee was unanimous in its view that it would be better that the sewage projects were implemented under the Public Private Partnership(PPP) arrangement with the Centre.