Photo: Akhilesh Pandey
Palam drain remains to be a nuisance in nearby areas; facelift only on paper

Posted: Aug 07, 2018     By Akhilesh Pandey

Open Palam drain is causing a lot of problems to the people who live in the nearby societies mainly in sectors 3, 5, 11. They face serious problems such as foul smell, flies, mosquitoes etc. Adarsh Apartments in Sector-3, which has hundreds of families, is one of the nearest and worst affected residential pockets.

Residents of the society said that dumping of garbage and raw meat waste has made the atmosphere toxic causing skin allergy. Senior citizens and asthma patients are having a tough time living in this society.

Ex-general secretary of RWA of Adarsh Apartments, Uma Shankar, said, “The situation has been serious for a long time and it has affected our health badly. Residents suffered badly from respiratory problems, skin allergy, throat infection, malaria, dengue etc.”

People said that the drain is full of sewage water and other toxic things. They showed the sewer flowing in the drain which was coming from the colonies in the area.

A resident of Adarsh apartments, Rakesh Sharma, said, “You can see 3-4 sewer lines flowing in it openly. This drain is a stormwater drain and flowing of the sewer like this is not allowed as per the guidelines of National Green Tribunal.”

Residents said that they had been trying to make the portion near the society of the drain covered. “Open sewer is against the law. When we demand to cover the drain, they say that a stormwater drain cannot be covered. Ultimately, we are the victims,” said Sharma.

People are facing other problems like electronic equipments are also getting damaged due to toxic gases emanating from the drain. Mahesh Gupta, general secretary of DDA SFS flats in Sector-5, went to the recently held function in DDA Park where the LG, VC of DDA, Union Minister of Urban Affairs, Hardeep Singh Puri and the current MP of the area Pravesh Verma were present.

Gupta wanted to ask about the problem of the drain to them but he could not get a chance. “The problem is bigger and it can be resolved only when the higher officials take the interest,” said Gupta.

In October 2012, DDA told in a press release that Palam drain which contributed to the city's most polluted channel, the Najafgarh drain, is set to get a facelift. Palam Drain is highly polluted and emits unhealthy odour in the densely populated area of Dwarka.

The 6-kilometre long Palam drain originates from Delhi Cantonment and passes through residential areas of Sagarpur, Raghu Nagar, Dabri, Sitapuri, Vijay Nagar, Mahavir Enclave, Madhu Vihar, Dwarka to terminate at Najafgarh Drain. The stretch of 2.3 km is covered by DDA.

After the investigation, City Spidey learnt that DDA with help from conservation body INTACH started a project for bio-remediation treatment of this drain to improve the air quality of this area. Project cost at that time was Rs 12 crore and recurring Rs 3 crores per annum.

DDA awarded the contract in 2012 for construction of resettlement tank amounting more than Rs 9 crore more than the estimated cost. SK Malik a resident of Sector-6 filed an RTI to get the status of the project.

“In March 2017, I raised an RTI to DDA to know detail about feasibility report, money spent (capital & maintenance), present status, improvement in water quality, use of treated water in gardens and lessons learnt by DDA in this project. DDA gave no reply. I made an appeal and still waiting for reply how public money is used by DDA,” said Malik.

SK Malik further said, “Project cost at that time was Rs 12 crore and recurring Rs 3 crore per annum. DDA awarded the contract in 2012 for construction of resettlement tank amounting more than Rs 9 crores of the estimated cost. But, the whole project was never effective as they started and carried it for 2-3 years.”

When the DDA officials were asked about the project of biological treatment (Online Channel Project) of Palam Drain, they were reluctant to answer. Some officials were not aware and others were clueless. Few said with confidence that the project is now operational.

One of the officials said on the condition of anonymity, “The project is completely closed. Actually, the level of BOD in the drain is so high that the treatment did not succeed. Also, the enzyme which was being supplied to the project was not available in sufficient quantity after the project started. So, DDA has closed this chapter.”

According to DDA’s officials, the project was approved in 2007 during the meeting of the authority. The work was awarded in 2012 and its tender cost that time was Rs 9.9 crore.  The project took off and the treatment of the water started.

For the project, a display board was also erected with the information of the cost and time of completion etc. DDA too promoted the project in its press conferences and showed its scientific steps and innovation. But, now, the project is nowhere and the officials are not aware of the status of the project.

TAGS: Palam drain / Polluted Palam drain / Adarsh Apartments in Dwarka / Health hazards of Palam drain / Facelift of Palam drain / Dwarka news / Delhi news