NGT order sparks bitter battle to save parks
New delhi: While the National Green Tribunal, in a recent order, had asked authorities to seal all tubewells being used to irrigate the Capital's parks and instead use treated water from Delhi Jal Board's Sewage Treatment Plants to maintain the parks, a bitter fight has now ensued between the BJP-led MCD administrations and the Aam Aadmi Party.
On the one hand, the AAP alleges that the DJB had made all infrastructural changes to their STPs to make sure that MCD tankers can collect water to irrigate parks under its jurisdiction but the civic bodies never sent their tankers to collect the water. On the other hand, the BJP-led civic bodies have maintained that it is the duty of the Delhi government to supply the water from STPs to parks.
AAP chief spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj on Thursday said that the around 14,500 parks in the city under MCD jurisdictions were in serious danger of drying up precisely because the BJP was not willing to work in collaboration with the AAP-led government which had made requisite arrangements for the MCD tankers to pick up the water.
Bhardwaj went on to say that the DJB had also prepared a Rs 850 crore proposal to lay down pipelines from the STPs to the parks as a permanent solution for the MCD and split the cost. He added that the MCDs refused to consider this proposal and also refused to pay such an amount.
However, the Leader of the House in the South MCD Narendra Chawla hit back at the AAP with the same complaint. He said that the around 6,000 parks under its jurisdiction were running dry because the Delhi government was allegedly refusing to comply with the NGT orders. He claimed the SDMC had approached DJB to work on this within the NGT's deadline but was allegedly met with resistance from the Delhi government.
Meanwhile, Bhardwaj asserted that the parks maintained by Resident Welfare Associations from funds provided by the Delhi government seem to be doing fine, whereas the parks under MCDs were drying up. He also said that while he personally had a problem with the NGT order, the DJB had worked to implement it. He asked why the MCDs have not approached a higher judicial authority with an appeal against the NGT order.
Chawla said that the NGT deadline for closing the tubewells will not be met and blamed the Delhi government for it. He added that as a result, the MCD had filed a plea with the NGT to extend this deadline.
While Bhardwaj accused the MCDs of using gardeners on their payroll for personal tasks, Chawla hit back at the AAP, saying it was making baseless allegations.