(Feature Image: The order is subject to the orders of the SC which is pending. NGT on Nov. 24, 2021ordered the BMC to deposit within three months an environmental penalty of ₹28.20 crores to the CPCB for discharging raw sewage into the city creeks, rivers and drains. HT Photo)
During past one year, the judicial bodies including National Green Tribunal, Supreme Court, various High Courts have passed several orders and made critical observation while dealing with multiple issues afflicting Urban Rivers in India. This report highlights top ten such judicial interventions across India. The stories underline that the responsible agencies particularly pollution control boards and district, state and union governments have been failing miserably in timely and efficient implementation of these judicial orders, some of which are quite remarkable. If the executive bodies do not show right spirit and seriousness in enforcing the existing rules and court orders the state of India’s urban river only go downhill.
Sabarmati Riverfront Development Project has converted the Sabarmati River into an urban space by reclaiming nearly 200 ha of land and displacing nearly 10000 people.
Concrete embankment walls of height 4 to 6 meters have been created for a stretch of 10.4 KM on both banks with walkways.
Width of Sabarmati channel is uniformly narrowed to 275 metres during the riverfront development project, when naturally average width of the channel was 382 metres and the narrowest cross-section was 330 metres.
The original character of the river is changed completely from a river to a canal.
The water that is impounded in Sabarmati Riverfront stretch is not Sabarmati river water, but Narmada River Water.
Water from Narmada canal is released in Sabarmati upstream of the Riverfront Project.
City of Ahmedabad or Sabarmati River has no right on Narmada River Water, it’s the water meant for drought prone areas of Kutch, Saurashtra and North Gujarat. Thus the water we see in Sabarmati in Ahmedabad is water deprived from the drought prone areas.
Sabarmati Riverfront Project has not resulted in cleaning of Sabarmati River. Instead the pollution from untreated sewage and industrial effluent has been diverted near the Vasna Barrage downstream of Riverfront project stretch.
Even after the Riverfront Development Project, Water Quality of Sabarmati River downstream of the Vasna Barrage is extremely poor.
So can we see Sabarmati River rijuvenated or even cleaned anywhere? The 10.4 KM long stretch is like a canal, upstream of it is a dry river in most days and downstream is one of the most polluted stretch.