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National Green Tribunal says its disappointed with non-responsiveness of Delhi Jal Board

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The National Green Tribunal on Friday expressed its disappointment with the non-responsiveness of the Delhi Jal Board for not taking any remedial action against the bad odour from the Sewage Treatment Plant, Kondli in Delhi. The NGT was considering the issue for remedial action as the Sewage Treatment Plant was not operated as per norms. 

“The matter has been considered in the last two years on several occasions but we find the response of the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) to be disappointing,” noted the Bench comprising of Chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel, JM Sudhir Agarwal and EM Dr. Nagin Nanda.

The NGT on November 12, 2021, directed the DJB, “It may be ensured that the Sewage Treatment Plant complies with the standards in terms of the consent, it operates as per its designed capacity and excess effluent is not bypassed untreated, in violation of the Water Act. Foul smell must be duly remedied. New odour control system may be duly assessed from time to time about its effectiveness and pending installation, interim effective arrangements are made for control of odour and compliance of standards.”

The original application was filed by the resident welfare association society.

On first date of hearing, 04.07.2019, the tribunal directed the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to take appropriate action in accordance with law and furnish a factual and action taken report in the matter within one month.

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In the report filed by the DPCC, it is stated that based on water laboratory analysis of the samples collected at the outlet, 25 MGD STP (Phase-II) and 45 MGD STP (Phase-IV) are not meeting the prescribed standards and vide directions issued on 24.09.219, the DJB has been required to provide effective odour control mechanism by 31.03.2020. The said direction also required the DJB to rectify the deficiencies for proper operation and maintenance of STPs at Kondli.

The matter was re-considered on 27.09.2019 and direction was issued for further appropriate action by the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) in light of the report of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC).

In view of seriousness of the violation of norms resulting in bad odour, the DJB may ensure that all remedial actions are completed by 31.03.2020 as directed by the DPCC and with this timeline in mind, all the necessary procedures may be preponed accordingly. The DJB may specify the person responsible for ensuring such compliance and consequences for failure including disciplinary action and recording such failure in the ACR. Name of such officer may be notified on the website of the DJB within one week from today.

The tribunal considered the matter on 09.07.2021 and finding failure of the Delhi Jal Board to perform its obligation of preventing odour at the Sewage treatment plant the Tribunal directed Delhi Jal Board to take further necessary action in the matter.

The applicant has submitted that inhabitants of the area are still forced to inhale hazardous gas on account of failure of the DJB.

We find that though it was earlier stated that odour control systems will be installed, in terms of report of the DJB dated 15.01.2020, no such steps have been taken. Merely dosing of Ferric Chloride, Primary Thickener-A covering and some plantation can hardly be held to be adequate steps in the matter.

The problem has been persisting since long but plea of pandemic is being taken to justify inaction. We do not understand why DJB is now shirking its responsibility and taking a contra stand that small steps taken are enough and no odour control system is required. This stand is against public interest and noncompliance of order of this Tribunal.

The DJB is held to be liable to pay cost of Rs. 5 lakh per month from 01.06.2021 till compliance. The CEO, DJB will be personally responsible for compliance. The CEO, DJB will be at liberty to take action against the erring officers in the matter. The CEO, DJB may remain present in person through video conferencing, along with the compliance status on the next date.

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In pursuance of the tribunal directions, Delhi Jal Board filed a report –

a) That in compliance of directions passed by this honourable tribunal Delhi Jal Board after taking approval from the Competent Authority, has issued Work Order to Joint Venture of M/s Aaxis Nano Technologies Pvt. Ltd. & M/s. Aquachem Enviro Engineers Pvt. Ltd. for the work of “Retrofitting of 45 MGD (PhaseIV) at Kondli, Delhi with Odour Control Units along with O&M of 5 years”.

b) That the Contract Agreement (CA) has been executed between Delhi Jal Board and JV of M/s. Aaxis Nano Technologies Pvt. Ltd & M/s. Aquachem Enviro Engineers Pvt. Ltd.

c) hat as per the work order issued to the contractor, the said work has to be completed within five months with regard to Supply, Installation, Testing & Commissioning of Odour Control System and thus as per the terms and conditions of the work order the work of installation and commissioning will be completed by January 2022.

d) That it is further submitted that the odour control system which is to be installed is supposed to be imported from Netherlands, Europe as per the specification mentioned in the agreement.

e) That the software for the purposes of online monitoring of Hydrogen Sulphide parameters as well as mobile application has been developed and is under testing stage and portable devices for H2S monitoring has been procured by the contractor.

f) Delhi Jal board is carrying out round the clock dosing of ferric chloride, so as to curb the bad odour. It is relevant to submit here that the results of dosing have been encouraging and the Sulphide content has considerably reduced and are under permissible limits as mentioned in the CPHEEO manual.

The original application stands disposed.

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