Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding foul smell emitting from Kushak drain, a part of the Barapullah drain, Delhi, 22/12/2023

Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Nizamuddin West Association Vs Union of India & Others dated 22/12/2023.

The matter related to the foul smell emitted from the drain flowing on the backside of houses of Greater Kailash, Delhi. The Kushak drain is open near the backside of their houses. The Kushak drain is part of the Barapullah Drain. The Barapullah storm water drain outfalls into the river Yamuna.

As per the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) report there are three main causes of the emitting of foul smell from the open area of drain. They are

i. The discharge of sewage from the unauthorized colonies Chirag Delhi, Chattarpur, Mehrauli, Saidullajab, Devli, Khanpur, Sangam Vihar, Tigri, Dakshinpuri Extn

ii. Improper desilting of the drains due to covering of the drain and

iii. Other factors which have caused stagnation of sewage and generation of foul gases.

The report filed by the MCD discloses that the total length of the drain in question is approximately 945 meters and out of this 645 meters is covered and 300 meters is open drain.

Submission of counsel for the MCD is that the feasibility of increasing number of vents in the covered area of the drain has been examined and the MCD has decided to have 40 more vent shafts in the covered area of 645 meter in addition to the 10 vent shafts which are already existing there. It has been submitted by MCD that the work order for erecting 40 additional vent shelves will be issued within a period of 2-3 days and the work will be completed within the period of one and a half months.

The stand of the MCD in the Action Taken Report dated December 21, 2023 is that desilting of the drain does not have any effect on the foul gases / smell emitting from the open part. MCD has submitted that it is carrying out the work of desilting of the drain in question but, the stand of the applicant is that the said desilting work has been done only 3-4 days back when the matter was to be listed before the tribunal and that too in the open area of the drain. Applicant has submitted that the problem has not been remediated till now and the foul smell with the same intensity is emitting from the open area.

Delhi Jal Board (DJB) has submitted that out of 11 drains flowing from unauthorized colonies to the storm water drain in question, five were already tapped when the previous order was passed and thereafter one more drain has been tapped. The remaining five drains will also be positively tapped by March 31, 2024 along with the expansion work of Okhla STP and the STP will start functioning by March 31, 2024. 

The NGT, December 22, 2023 directed Delhi Jal Board to file an affidavit disclosing the time schedule leading to the completion of tapping of all the 11 drains and Mehrauli drain as also completion and functioning of the expanded Okhla STP. The MCD has been directed to regularly carry out the work of desilting of the open portion of the drain as also the covered part thereof.

It has been pointed out that since four concrete chambers have been created in the drain therefore, cleaning of the drain is difficult.  The tribunal in its previous order had directed the MCD to produce the project report on the basis of which the four channels in the drain were constructed and to point out the object and purpose of constructing four channels. Though along with the report of the MCD a project report of the construction has been filed but the counsel appearing for MCD is not in a position to point out as to why the four channels were constructed in the drain and what was the object and purpose of the construction of those four channels.

The NGT called for a fresh report from the MCD and the Delhi Jal Board as also the affidavit of the CEO, Delhi Jal Board within a period of two weeks.