Activists welcome Delhi High Court order to save YamunaNovember 26th, 2008 - 2:05 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Nov 26 (IANS) Environmental activists Wednesday welcomed the Delhi High Court’s order for imprisonment of three Delhi Jal Board (DJB) officials, including its former CEO, for their failure to prevent sewage from flowing into the Yamuna river. They stressed that more such steps need to be taken to make officials accountable.“It’s a welcome decision. Until now there has been a lot of rhetoric about things to be done to clean up the Yamuna river. This decision of the high court is a genuine move towards the same and has brought us hope,” Kapil Misra of the Youth for Justice group, which has been actively working on the issue, told IANS.
The Delhi High Court Tuesday awarded two-week imprisonment to three DJB officials, including its former CEO Arun Mathur, and slapped on them a fine of Rs.20,000 each for not repairing a damaged drain in the national capital and thus failing to prevent sewage flow into the Yamuna, despite the court’s order two years ago.
Justice S.N. Dhingra, while awarding the imprisonment said: “It is only in this country that citizens have to knock the doors of the court in order to get relief of the kind sought here.
“It only shows what contempt normal citizens of this country are dealt with by authorities and essential facilities like sewage lines are not maintained by the DJB despite repeated complaints of the citizen”.
The imprisonment, however, shall remain suspended for three months.
The court said the officials will have to undergo the imprisonment if within three months they fail to control the flow of sewage from a drain at District Centre, Nehru Place, into the drain of S-Block, Greater Kailash-I.
“The Delhi High Court’s decision is a welcome move no doubt. It should be ensured that the erring officials are punished, and an example set that no one can go about doing a criminal offence like polluting a river,” said Vimalbhai of the Matu People’s organisation, which has been working on the cleaning of Yamuna and Ganga.
Misra added that the next step should be to make the DJB and other civic agencies accountable for the funds allocated to maintain the river.
“Anything to do with the river Yamuna has become a huge scam. There is no accountability for the Yamuna Action Plan 1 and 2 which was implemented since 1993 for the abatement of river pollution and conservation of the Yamuna.
“The next step from here should be to ensure that the DJB is made accountable for their action so that such offences are not repeated,” Misra said.
The government, they further added, should also take action instead of just talking about cleaning and conserving the river.