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Delhi government plans bill to save Yamuna

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New Delhi: There seems to be hope yet for the dying Yamuna river.

Delhi’s AAP government is planning to bring new legislation to eliminate multiplicity of authorities that has contributed to the Yamuna, once northern India’s pride and lifeline, turning into a hugely polluted waterway.

The legislation will enable the Delhi government to create a separate agency to revive the river which runs for 48 km through the eastern fringe of the national capital.

The trouble is the river, venerated by Hindus, is maintained by different departments, working at times at cross purposes, just like more areas of governance in the capital.

The proposed bill is likely to be named the Yamuna River and Flood Plain Development Bill, a government official told IANS.
The purpose of the bill is to set up one single authority, and it could be named the Yamuna Development Corporation Ltd.

A note pertaining to the legislation says the bill will “make special provision for securing, cleaning, rejuvenation, conservation and floodplain and development of the river”.

At present, multiple agencies are engaged in maintaining the river, which is the source of water for over 70 percent of Delhi’s population.

The Delhi Development Authority, a central government agency, looks after 22 km of the floodplain of the river. It is one among a dozen authorities engaged in the task.

Among the other agencies which have a say over the Yamuna are the Delhi Jal Board, the irrigation department, the revenue department and the flood control department.

“The proposed agency is a good step,” the Delhi government official said. “Multiple agencies have made the tough task of cleaning the Yamuna more complicated.”

The Yamuna originates at Yamunotri in the Himalayan range. It flows a total of 1,376 km before merging with the Ganga at Allahabad — to form the holy Triveni.

The river passes through Uttarakhand, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. It is considered relatively clean until it reaches Delhi where a combination of municipal, household and industrial waste begin to choke and kill the river.

The river is considered virtually dead in much of Uttar Pradesh.

Since setting up a separate authority will have financial implications, the proposed bill has to be ratified by the central government once it is passed in the Delhi assembly where the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has a good majority.

Asked if the bill might get stuck due the rivalry between the central and Delhi governments, the official said both sides were on the same page on the Yamuna.

“In fact, the decision to bring the bill was an outcome of a meeting between the central and Delhi governments,” the official added. It is learnt that the proposed authority will have officials from both the central and Delhi governments.

A whopping Rs.1,500 crore has been spent since 1993 on sprucing up the Yamuna but critics say the money seems to have gone down the drain. Cleaning up the Yamuna was one of the election promises of the AAP, which rode to power in February. The Yamuna also figures on the agenda of the Narendra Modi government.
(Gaurav Sharma can be contacted at gaurav.s@ians.in)

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Kejriwal exposed as a liar: BJP leader

He also accused Kejriwal of hatching a conspiracy to mislead people by playing the emotional card of apology

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Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, VOA
  • Arvind Kejriwal apologised to Bikram Singh Majithia
  • BJP leader says that this apology established himself
  • BJP also alleged that Kejriwal did nothing while state aced so many problems

A day after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal apologised to former Punjab Minister Bikram Singh Majithia for alleging that he was involved in the drug trade, the BJP Delhi unit on Friday said he has exposed himself as a “liar”.

The BJP also alleged that he was doing nothing even while the people of the national capital were facing a number of issues due to sealing.

Arvind Kejriwal apologized to Bikram Singh Majithia. IANS

Addressing a press conference here, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Delhi unit President Manoj Tiwari said: ” What we have been saying for long has been proved today. He is a liar. He has apologised to Majithia for making false allegations against him.”

“He is on his way to apologise to (Union Finance Minister) Arun Jaitley ji and (Union Transport Minister) Nitin Gadkari ji for making false allegations,” the BJP leader said. Kejriwal is facing defamation cases in court for levelling allegations against Jaitley and Gadkari.

Also Read: BJP Protests Outside Sisodia’s Residence, Demands Kejriwal’s Resignation

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief on Thursday apologised to the Shiromani Akali Dal leader in Punjab for making allegations of involvement in the drug trade, following which the latter said that he will withdraw a defamation suit filed in an Amristar court.

Tiwari, who represents the northeast Delhi constituency in the Lok Sabha, accused Kejriwal of misleading the people over the ongoing sealing drive in the national capital.

BJP MLA Vijender Gupta accused the AAP chief of only rendering “lip service” on the sealing drive and urged the Chief Minister to hold an all-party meeting with the Supreme Court-appointed Monitoring committee overseeing the drive.

“Since December last, Kejriwal is only doing lip service on the issue of sealing drive. He has done nothing to stop it,” Gupta, the Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly, said.

He said that though Lt Governor Anil Baijal cleared the file for notifying 351 roads in the capital on February 8, the matter is still pending. “Why hasn’t he (Kejriwal) notified the 351 roads in the last 45 days?” Gupta asked.

BJP leaders are calling this apology a gimmick.

He also accused Kejriwal of hatching a conspiracy to mislead people by playing the emotional card of apology. Gupta warned the Monitoring Committee members not to act outside the law and said: “If the monitoring committee acts against law, then the BJP will oppose it.”

“We are going to inform the three municipal corporations of Delhi not to follow the commands of the Monitoring Committee if it goes against the law,” he said. “The MCDs should approach the court and also make Kejriwal a party,” the BJP leader added. IANS