Today, the Delhi LG along with the officers of Delhi Govt visited Bhalswa lake and through his Twitter handle claimed that DDA is rejuvenating this lake and also claimed that the work started after his first visit on 15.10.2022. Chairman, DJB Shri Saurabh Bhardwaj took on the LG on his twitter handle by putting the copies of work orders and other documents. Shri Saurabh Bhardwaj cautioned LG Shri Vinai Saxena that this work like other water bodies is being undertaken by the elected govt of Delhi led by Shri Arvind Kejriwal. He also posted the work order of Delhi Jal Board dated 4.1.2022 amounting to 4.52 Crores and also claimed that this work order is dated much before Shri Vinay Saxena was appointed as the LG of Delhi. It is noteworthy that LG Shri Vinai Saxena joined this position in May 2022 while the permission provided by DDA to the Delhi Jal Board to rejuvenate this lake dates back to 17th May 2019.
This was the time when Shri Arvind Kejriwal was the Chairman of Delhi Jal Board and it was due to his personal interest that this rejuvenation project was rigorously followed up with DDA. DDA being an agency under the Central Govt. owns most of the land and lakes in the city. It was observed that most of the lakes under the ownership of DDA or MCD were in a depilated state and could be rejuvenated. Shri Arvind Kejriwal directed DJB to follow-up with the land owning agency so that these lakes/ water bodies could be rejuvenated by Delhi Jal board via funds of Delhi govt. After a long follow-up, working permission was granted by DDA to DJB to rejuvenate these lakes from its own funds of DJB. It is disheartening to see the Hon’ble LG claiming credit for the work which has been going on for many years much before he joined as the LG of Delhi. Delhi govt. has been patiently waiting that some day the LG will give due credit for this work to those who deserve it. The office of LG is a sacrosanct office and such PR exercises are not expected from the office of LG. The CM of Delhi had always advocated for restraint even when the LG office has been claiming the credit of most of the works of Delhi Jal Board, Irrigation and Flood Control and the Environment Department of the Delhi Govt.
It must be pointed out that earlier pictures of the LG claiming credit for rejuvenation of Sanjay Lake were also not in good taste. The attached NOC provided by DDA dated 17.05.2019 mentions seven lakes where DDA allowed DJB to revive and rejuvenate the lakes. Sanjay Lake is at S.No 4 and Bhalswa Lake is at S.No 5. This makes it amply clear 3 years before joining of LG, this work was planned by Delhi Jal Board, however due to the onset of Corona during 2020 and 2021, most of the works gained speed in the year 2022.
Rejuvenation of Lakes is a scientific process and involves meticulous planning and sincere implementation. The Chairman, DJB appreciated the efforts of DJB Engineers who have planned and executed the following steps:
- Cleaning of existing PWD drain choked with Cow dung and garbage from Bhalswa Dairy
- Excavation of Garbage and cow dung island from inside the lake using hydraulic excavators
- Construction of interceptor drain to divert cow dung into the supplementary drain in phase 1. Else it would pollute the lake and contaminate the groundwater
- Final diversion of cow dung into the Interceptor chamber of DJB is under process.
- Removal of Water hyacinth and wild vegetation from the lake
- Desilting of sludge , silt and other organic waste from the bed of the lake periphery
- Cleaning and maintaining interceptor drain to ensure waste doesn’t go inside the Lake
DJB has been doing work of holistic rejuvenation of Bhalswa Lake for many years. Above tasks mentioned in S.No. 1 and 7 have been done so far. Soon, an in situ treatment system will be placed inside the lake to improve water quality to BOD 5 mg/L levels. DJB will also be diverting 20 MGD treated water from New Coronation STP of 70 MGD Capacity so that the lake can have clean water and historical pollutants can be flushed. Chairman, DJB has been holding regular meetings with area MLA and councillor on the issue of Bhalswa Lake rejuvenation to expedite the work. The lake has been under DDA since 2019 but it has been in dismal condition and water quality was thoroughly contaminated. On instruction of CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal, DJB took upon itself to rejuvenate the lake and improve the water quality. The working permission was taken by DJB from DDA on 17.05.2019. Thereafter DJB performed a detailed survey and developed a strategy to initiate cleaning works. DJB has been consistently working on different aspects of the lake.
The Chairman Delhi Jal Board has requested the LG to not claim credit of the work of the Elected Government however he is most welcome to visit and appreciate the works of the Elected Govt.