New Delhi: Even as they spar over jurisdiction, there are signs of cooperation as the union and Delhi governments are to create a single agency to clean up Yamuna river - which accounts for 70 percent of the capital's water needs - realising that the multiple authorities engaged in the task have complicated the job.
The agency, likely to named the Delhi Yamuna Development Authority (DYDA), will be set up on the lines of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation - jointly run by the central and Delhi governments. "This will be major step in the direction of rejuvenating the Yamuna. Various agencies involved in the task has prove to be a bottleneck," a top Delhi government official told IANS, requesting anonymity.
Presently, around a dozen of authorities look after the river: Delhi government's revenue department, irrigation and flood department, Delhi Jal Board and the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) - and other departments of civic bodies with none of them doing their job and instead coming in each other’s way.
This has meant that successive governments at the Centre and in Delhi have failed to rejuvenate the river despite spending over Rs.1,500 crore on three Yamuna Action Plans, the first of which was launched way back in 1993."The authorities are not able to execute their work because of jurisdiction issues. If Delhi Jal Board wants to to do some thing on the riverfront, DDA's permission is needed," the official explained.
"The Delhi government had proposed the idea of a meeting with the centre, which was okay with the proposal," the official said, adding: "The proposal is ready." Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his minister with the water portfolio, Kapil Mishra, had met central ministers Uma Bharti, M. Venkaiah Naidu to evolve a common plan of action for the Yamuna. Both sides have already decided to create a special purpose vehicle for the task.
A detailed blueprint is being prepared for the purpose. Cleaning-up the Yamuna is one of the poll promises of the Aam Aadmi Party government, which rode to power in February, winning 67 of the 70 assembly seats. It is also among the top agenda items of the Narendra Modi government. Mishra, it is learnt, has set a three-year deadline for the project. According to the National Green Tribunal, the state governmrnt needs Rs.3,659 crore for the purpose.