New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) today slammed Delhi Jal Board over rising ammonia levels in the Yamuna which has left its water beyond treatment, forcing the closure of Wazirabad and Chandrawal plants.
"There is a report of increase in ammonia levels. What is your stand on it and what action have you taken in this regard," a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar asked while directing Delhi Jal Board (DJB) to file a status report in this regard.
The order assumes significance as high levels of ammonia ranging between 2-2.5 ppm (parts per million) were traced in the river after which Delhi Water Minister Kapil Mishra wrote a letter to Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti about the "deteriorating" water quality in the Yamuna.
"If the quantum of ammonia in raw water increases to 0.5 ppm and beyond, the operation of treatment of raw water has to be suspended as ammonia with the treating agent chlorine gives rise to trihalomethane, which is carcinogenic in nature," Mr Mishra had said in his letter to Ms Bharti.
The green panel also convened a meeting of officials of the Ministries of Environment and Forests and Water Resources, the Delhi Jal Board CEO and other concerned officials on January 28.
The Tribunal in January last year had constituted a "Principal Committee" which would be responsible for the implementation of the 'Maili se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalisation Project 2017'.
The committee consists of secretary of the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF), joint secretary of the ministry of water resources, chief secretary of Delhi, vice-chairman DDA, commissioners of all corporations and the state secretaries of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
On November 3 last year, the NGT had asked the Delhi Jal Board to explain how much money it has spent on construction of sewage network and Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) while expressing surprise over its annual budget of over Rs 1400 crore and restrained it from spending more than Rs 50 crore.