Delhi's waterbodies to get a new lease of life soon

Delhi's waterbodies to get a new lease of life soon

Delhi’s waterbodies, which are dying a slow death, may get a new lease of life with a high-level committee under the government setting yearly targets for their revival.

This year, the focus will be on cleaning the over 1,000 water bodies in the national capital, followed by plantation.

As Delhi’s many ponds, lakes, and stepwells are plagued by problems like encroachments and sewage and some have even become extinct, the Delhi government had last week announced a high-level committee to look into the matters related to water bodies, under the chairmanship of Public and Works Department Minister Satyendar Jain.

Target set

The committee has now decided to set yearly targets for  revival of these water bodies and has directed all the relevant agencies like MCDs, DDA, DJB to focus on cleaning and plantation for this year.

This will be followed up with removing encroachments and studying possibilities of rainwater harvesting in coming years.

According to the Delhi government’s records, there are 971 identified water bodies in the capital, but the figure could well be above 1,000 as some are non-traceable, according to officials.

Out of the 971, only 250 are those which still have water and can come under the “clean’ category.

Over 300 water bodies are such which have completely dried up and 100 have been taken over by encroachments like buildings, parks and slums, leaving no scope of revival.

Moreover, around 150 water bodies are partially encroached, which will be taken up for revival.

In around 100 water bodies, mostly in villages, sewage flows unmonitored.“It is the responsibility of Delhi Jal Board to remove sewage and the committee has already issued instructions,” said S D Singh, Chief Executive Officer, Delhi Parks and Garden Society, Department of Environment.

Multiplicity of agencies

According to experts, multiplicity of agencies has been one of the main reasons behind the death of these water bodies as no one authority is responsible for their maintenance and preservation.

But if the committee’s agenda is to be believed, clear instructions will now be given to individual agencies and responsibilities will be fixed to carry out a revival process.

A meeting will be held on June 22, to further deliberate on the plan and directions to be given to various agencies.

The National Green Tribunal had recently taken cognizance over the depletion of the water table in the city and had directed the city government to clean and restore all natural water bodies in Delhi and submit a report within three weeks.

The green panel had also directed the agencies concerned to ensure that these water bodies receive rainwater in good quantity before the onset of monsoon. We will first be carrying out identification of these water bodies and a study on their present condition will be done.

Also, a feasibility report will be prepared on the  possibility of installing provisions for rainwater harvesting structures as it is not possible everywhere. Further, an identification and beautification plan will be prepared including fencing, recreation facilities, etc, addedSD Singh.

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