Water bodies victim of buck passing

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NEW DELHI: Delhi government’s poor documentation and conservation of water bodies is well-known. But when new water bodies are identified, even those are not preserved because nobody seems to know which agency is responsible for its upkeep.

Two water bodies in Dhulsiras village near Dwarka, that are not on government’s records because they were recently identified, are awaiting rejuvenation work because authorities are not sure whether they are under purview of Delhi Development Authority or the forest department.

A committee constituted by the LG on June 7, 2013, was given the task of identifying new water bodies in Dwarka so that the water-starved sub-city’s water table could be raised. Activist Diwan Singh and water expert Vikram Soni, who are part of the committee, had submitted to LG an assessment that about 2 million gallons daily (MGD) can be added to the current water supply of 2MGD after these water bodies are revived.

DDA has observed that the two water bodies are with forest department. But chief conservator of forests AK Shukla says they are not. “After I got complaints that these two water bodies were drying up, because the owning agency couldn’t be identified, I checked our records. But these are surely not with the forest department nor is the forest patch surrounding it,” he said.

“During the last two meetings of the committee I have been asking about revival of these two water bodies. They do not figure in any records but have possibly the best chances for revival than any other I have come across in Dwarka. But DDA has claimed they are with the forest department,” Singh said.

More than 20 new water bodies have been identified by the committee in Dwarka Phase I but work has not started on any because of a variety of hurdles. About eight water bodies do not have a “green land use”. These are located on land that will be used either for commercial or residential purposes. But the committee has been asked to ignore such water bodies because their land use will not be changed.

“Dwarka is water-starved and we cannot afford to lose even a single water body. For instance, in Sector 12 there is a historical baoli that is not being revived because its land use is not green. No wonder, a so called well-planned sub-city is parched,” Singh added.



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