A bench of Justices Swatanter Kumar and Madan B Lokur referred to the 1994 Yamuna accord on water sharing, signed by the northern region states of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi. According to this agreement, 0.724 BCM (billion cubic metre) of Yamuna water was allocated to Delhi.
“Is there any water in Yamuna? It appears there is only filth. There was an agreement in 1994, entered into by various states over water sharing. Water coming towards Delhi into Yamuna is very negligible. This could be one of the major reasons why there is no fresh water in the Yamuna,” the bench said.
Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, amicus curiae in the case, shared the court’s concerns and said that “in the chemical formula for water H2O, O for oxygen is completely missing in Yamuna.” He said fresh water towards Delhi is available only till Wazirabad. According to Kumar, the issue was grave since ground water too was being polluted.
The bench said: “Water has either stagnated or is being polluted because of indiscriminate dumping of waste and effluent. We think one of the solutions to the problem could be that large quantity of fresh water is brought into the river. This may at least take care of issues relating to the quantity of water in Yamuna. All the parties should look into it.”
The court also asked authorities to consider the possibility of taking more than 20 drains to a place 30-40 km outside Delhi for recycling by removing solid waste and then routing, in a closed drain, to a place where the government has sufficient land for a water treatment project.
Additional Solicitor General P P Malhotra, the amicus curiae and counsel for other states agreed to examine the 1994 Yamuna accord and look at the possibility of infusing fresh water into the Yamuna.
Meanwhile, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) submitted its inspection report and cited several problems regarding the operation of sewage treatment plants (STPs) as well as the proposed plan of putting in place interceptor drains. Interceptor drains carry waste water from miscellaneous drains to the STPs that finally discharge treated water into the Yamuna.
The court posted the matter for next Tuesday, asking the Delhi Jal Board to adduce its comments on the CPCB report. It also asked the directors of IIT-Delhi and Roorkee to be personally present on the next date to assist the court.