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Delhi LG laments polluted Yamuna, says devotees again forced to offer Chhath prayers amid filth on riverbanks

LG Secretariat officials said that instead of addressing the questions and issues raised by Saxena, the 'sources' of AAP govt are trying to hide behind 'fig leaf' of 'contempt' as an 'alibi' to their 'gross and criminal failure' in cleaning the Yamuna over the last nine years

PTI New Delhi Published 21.11.23, 10:16 AM
Devotees perform rituals of 'Chhath Puja' festival, as toxic foam floats on the surface of polluted Yamuna river at Kalindi Kunj, in New Delhi.

Devotees perform rituals of 'Chhath Puja' festival, as toxic foam floats on the surface of polluted Yamuna river at Kalindi Kunj, in New Delhi. PTI

Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena on Monday lamented the condition of the froth, sewer and effluent-laden Yamuna on the culmination of the Chhath festival, saying promises to clean the river remain unfulfilled.

In a series of posts on X, Saxena also accused the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in the national capital of "convolutedly" getting the Supreme Court to modify a National Green Tribunal (NGT) order.

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A source in the city government said, "It is sincerely unfortunate that a constitutionally-designated officeholder is making such gauche remarks on the Supreme Court's decision. Contempt of court is a punishable offence and we hope that the apex court shall deal with this misplaced accusation sternly, taking suo moto cognisance against the LG's insinuations." In July, the Supreme Court stayed the NGT's order nominating the LG to head a high-level committee constituted for cleaning the Yamuna.

LG Secretariat officials said that instead of addressing the questions and issues raised by Saxena, the "sources" of AAP government are trying to hide behind "fig leaf" of "contempt" as an "alibi" to their "gross and criminal failure" in cleaning the Yamuna over the last nine years.

"The LG has followed every order, including the one in this case, in letter and spirit, just as a constitutional authority should do," the officials added. Saxena said the Chhath festival culminated on Monday with 'Arghya' offered to the Sun god. 'Chhathi Maiya' departed but the Yamuna remained dirty and polluted, he said, adding that the devotees were once again forced to offer prayers amid silt, debris and filth.

"Arghya offering in the Yamuna got prohibited yet Yamuna could not be cleaned," the LG said in one of his posts on the microblogging website.

Saxena had undertaken cleaning of the heavily-polluted Najafgarh drain that opens into the Yamuna and taken other initiatives for cleansing the river as the chairman of the high-level committee formed by the NGT.

"Even when some work starts under directions of Hon'ble NGT and things just begin to change in terms of cleaner floodplains, enhanced sewage treatment, land for new STPs and resultant slight improvements in water quality, the Govt co(n)volutedly gets Hon'ble SC to modify NGT's order," the LG said.

Reacting to the LG's remarks, the government source said, "If the LG disagreed with the order of the Supreme Court judgment dated July 11, 2023, removing him from the high-level committee on Yamuna cleaning, then he should have filed a review. It is shocking that he has gone in contempt of the Supreme Court and is insinuating that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal influenced the decision." The LG also said, "Year after year. One promise after another. Froth, sewer, effluent remain unchecked. The floodplains get turned into dump yards and open toilets. COD/BOD, Coliform, E Coli ... all markers damn the river." In another post, Saxena said a blame game starts after Chhath or when the ammonia level goes up in the river or during floods or when there is a water shortage due to a low water level in reservoirs, but no one takes the blame for years of "inaction".

"And... the Yamuna flows festering..!!" he said in yet another post.

The NGT formed the high-level committee chaired by the LG in January, noting that there was a huge gap between sewage generation and the available sewage-treatment facilities in the city.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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