Noida: Sewage treatment plant for Shahdara drain to come up by Sept 30, says panel
Bhure Lal, chairman of the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, said trees and shrubs will be planted along the Noida portion of the drain to keep out the stench
The chairman of the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, Dr Bhure Lal, said on Monday that a sewage treatment plant (STP) will be set up at Kalyanpuri in Delhi by September 30 to tackle the pollution caused by the Shahdara drain.
He added that trees and shrubs should also be planed along the stretch of the drain falling in Noida simultaneously.
The Shahdara drain runs for seven kilometres through Noida before it empties into the Yamuna river near Kalindi Kunj in Delhi. The drain has been a contentious issue for sectors 14, 14A, 15 and 15A set up along its length as the residents have been suffering due to the gases being released from the drain. They say it has been affecting the groundwater and their health, electronic gadgets, utensils and bathroom fittings.
Lal directed a representative of the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) to ensure that the STP at Kalyanpuri is made functional by September. “I will monitor it personally. If not done by September, we will have to take other measures to get it done,” he said.
He was speaking at a conclave organised by the Sector 14 residents’ welfare association (RWA) on Monday on the environmental degradation caused by the drain.
He added that most STPs in the country run at only 50% of their installed capacity due to various reasons. “Setting up an STP is not sufficient. The agencies involved must ensure removal of sludge, grit and debris in the drain for the plant to be effective,” said Lal.
Besides this, he said, the horticulture department will plant trees and shrubs along the stretch of drain falling in Noida.
The Noida authority’s deputy chief executive officer (DCEO) Soumya Srivastava, who was present at the conclave, said IIT Roorke was commissioned last year to conduct a study to check the foul smell emanating from the drain. “Based on their recommendation, we planted nearly 7,500 plants and 14,000 shrubs from Sector 14 to Kalndi Kunj along the drain last year,” he said.
The drain originally came up as the Shahdara canal, which was built by Delhi’s irrigation and flood control department to prevent floods in the trans-Yamuna area in the aftermath of the 1961 floods that affected large parts of East Delhi.
Created in 1976, the same year as Noida, the canal was created to carry flood water away from the Yamuna bed in case of a natural disaster. But for the past four decades, the canal has been reduced to a drain that largely carries sewage from Delhi.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, who is a resident of Sector 14, said if the noxious gases from the drain can affect electronic gadgets so badly, one can imagine the state of health of the people who inhale the gases.
Sushil Kumar Agarwal, another Sector 14 resident, who had filed a PIL against the drain, said the residents have been fighting a legal battle with the DJB for the past 20 years. “A year ago, an STP with a capacity of 9 million gallons per day was set up at the Chilla regulator. Every day, Delhi empties around 125-150 million gallons of sewage into the Shahdara drain. Is the STP facility adequate to treat the sewage going into the drain or is this entire mass of untreated sewage emptied into the Yamuna on a daily basis?” he said.
Noida MLA Pankaj Singh, who was also present at the conclave, said he will take up the matter with the Delhi and UP governments and even the Union government if required. “I am committed to find a solution to the problem,” he said.
At the event, two organisations — Indian National Trust for Art, Culture and Heritage (Intach) and Sri Sri Rural Development Programme Trust — also gave presentations on their proposed solutions to clean the drain and rid it of the foul smell. While Intach suggested bio-remediation, the other suggested the use of enzymes.
The DCEO said that the Noida authority held a meeting with Intach two days ago and will invite Sri Sri Rural Development Programme Trust to give a presentation in a couple of days. He said that the they will choose either of the two technologies, depending on their efficacy.