Over past the six years of his stint as chief minister, he has emerged a man of action. In the political cesspool, while parties generally make tall and unrealistic promises only to be forgotten after coming to power, he kept almost all the promises his party made during the elections. Hence, when Kejriwal announced that his government will clean River Yamuna, residents of Delhi will mostly likely him.
Releasing a video on the achievements of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government to mark the first year in office in its third term, the Chief Minister said his government will clean the river in three years. Delhi Health and Urban Development Minister Satyendar Jain said after defeating Covid-19, the Delhi Government will now focus on cleaning the Yamuna.
Recounting how his government proved his detractors wrong, he said “Nobody believed us when we promised to provide 24×7 electricity, but today, the Delhi government is providing 24×7 electricity to the people of Delhi. Soon, we will also provide 24×7 water supply as well.
The minister said 1.3 million people got zero water bills during the last year. He also said that 73% of residents got zero electricity bill during the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, Delhi’s Electric Vehicle policy will help in minimising vehicular pollution, he added.
No matter what the Opposition says, the masses are content with the performance of the Team Kejriwal in healthcare, education, power, water front. Even where they failed to deliver, for example on the pollution front, they have not given up without giving it a try with right earnest.
What’s more they are sincere enough to admit that they failed. This is where the AAP is different from the rest of the parties. More than the work they have accomplished what appeals the electorate is the sincerity of their approach,
Coming back to Yamuna cleaning project, Manish Sisodia, Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, while presenting the AAP Government's 2021-22 budget, confirmed the river which is the lifeline of the National Capital should be completely clean. The Deputy CM announced Rs 2,074 crore allocation for Yamuna Cleaning Project.
Dirty flows Yamuna
As much as 760 MGD sewage water goes into Yamuna of which 610 MGD of dirty water goes to Delhi and 150 MGD of polluted water to Yamuna from Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. 100 MGD of sloppy water from Delhi comes into the Yamuna from non-sewage and unauthorized areas.
Untreated sewage is a major cause for concern. About 105 MGD of untreated discharge reaches Najafgarh drain from Haryana (Hariyana) to Okhla barrage while 50 MGD sewage reaches Yamuna via Shahdara drain from UP (Uttar Pradesh).
This is not the first time a project has been launched to cleanse Yamuna. Unfortunately, most of such projects launched with all fanfare largely remained on paper. Reason: 26 out of 35 sewage treatment plants (STPs) in Delhi with a combined treatment capacity of 2,258.72 million litres per day (MLD) failed to comply with discharge norms prescribed by the pollution control body.
The Yamuna, which serves for around 70 per cent of Delhi’s water requirement, is one of the most polluted rivers in the world due to high density of population and rapid industrialisation.
The AAP government had initiated a mega project in 2018 with an aim to reduce the pollution load in the Yamuna by 90 per cent by March 2023. The project is nowhere near its target when the latest project is going to get underway under the same government. But this time the government seems to be resolute in its mission. If they succeed in its mission to clean the river, it will be AAP’s ultimate gift to the Delhiites.
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The opinion expressed in the article is of the writer. Writer is a freelance journalist/journalist based in Delhi