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The probe into alleged irregularities amounting to Rs 776.7 crore in three Delhi Jal Board (DJB) projects by the Delhi Assembly’s Estimates Committee is now focusing on a Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) report which maintained that the projects were “not necessary”.
The probe is related to alleged irregularities in 14 sewage treatment plants (STPs) within three projects, set up to clean the Najafgarh and supplementary drains under Phase-1 of the ‘Maily se nirmal Yamuna revitalisation plan 2017’ taken up after directions from the National Green Tribunal in 2015.
A source in the committee said, It is being probed whether the DJB went ahead with the plan for the STPs despite there being no need for it. This CPCB report is something that was never flagged by the DJB before its board. The report, presented to the NGT in 2016, states that the construction should start only after sewer lines are laid down in these areas, so that sewage can reach optimum design of the STPs, and that drains intercepted from Najafgarh drain can be linked with existing STPs for optimum operation rather than building 14 new STPs at this stage.
The report also maintained that the development of the proposed STPs may take a long time (30-40 years). Hence, the first and foremost task of the DJB or any concerned stakeholder may be to optimise the operation of existing STPs up to the level of meeting the desired standards, and to plan how to reuse treated sewage. The proposed STPs will be required in the future and the time frame can’t be ascertained for development of sewerage system in these villages, mentioned by report.
A DJB source said, “The CPCB report didn’t measure the flow in the STPs and was, as a result, not signed by an IIT professor, who was a part of the committee, and other officials. The idea that the STPs weren’t required was an opinion offered by them. The projects were done on the orders of the NGT.”