Speech of the Hon’ble Minister of Environment and Forests on the Inauguration of Sewage Treatment Plant at Gurgaon, Haryana on 4th January, 2000

Shri T.R. Baalu
Hon'ble Union Minister of Environment & Forests

It gives me great pleasure to be here to inaugurate this Sewage Treatment Plant built by the Haryana Government under the Yamuna Action Plan with the techno-economic co-operation of Japan. The technical and financial support of the Japanese Government for this prestigious Yamuna Action programme has been very valuable. I appreciate and thank the officials of Japan Bank for International Cooperation and Indo-Japanese Consultants for joining hands with the Indian Government in this laudable effort.

Water is a valuable but exhaustible resource to sustain life on this planet. It is the primary duty of every citizen to utilise the valuable water resources wisely and avoid pollution to the maximum extent. The urban and rural poor of the country, who have meagre access to the goods and services, should not be burdened by the pollution through sewage and industrial effluents, abuse of water bodies, etc. It is the duty of every citizen to protect the quality and equitable use of natural resources like air, water and fertile soil, plant and animal life and also preserve them for our future generations.

You may be aware that the Yamuna Action Plan was launched by the Government of India in 1993 in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi for the abatement of pollution in the River Yamuna and also to ensure that untreated effluents are not discharged into the river. The approved cost of the Yamuna Action Plan is Rs. 509.45 crores and Haryana's share is Rs. 232.30 crores. The sewage treatment plants are being set up in twelve towns of Haryana and the STP at Gurgaon has been constructed at a cost of about Rs. 10 crores only.

Due to increasing population in urban areas, sewage and industrial pollution of water resources have taken serious dimensions. Construction of sewage treatment and disposal systems is one of the important measures to check this menace.

Commissioning of such Sewage Treatment Plants is only half the job done. It is now the duty of the State Government and its agencies to operate and maintain carefully not only the STPs and other Yamuna Action Plan assets but also their sewage and drainage system, garbage and solid disposal systems diligently and carefully so that these valuable assets do not under-perform or get defunct.

Technologies for future sewage treatment should be wisely chosen to ensure safe and maximum reuse of treated sewage for aqua-culture, fishculture, fodder and fuel forestry, irrigation and urban forestry so that the nutrient-rich treated sewage is used as a resource and not considered a waste. I am happy to note that the treated effluent from this Sewage Treatment Plant is being used for irrigation. My Ministry, through the National River Conservation Directorate, after consultation with national and international experts, committed NGOs and other Ministries of the Centre and States has circulated certain recommendatory guidelines for the proper design as well as operation and maintenance of sewage conveyance and treatment systems. I would like to impress upon the Governments and agencies of the participating States to consider adopting these guidelines in order to protect our valuable water resources and reduce wastage on consumptive and non-consumptive use of water resources.

Further, the local elected bodies as the legitimate constitutional owners of the River Action Plan assets should be associated fully in this programme so that the citizens of the River Action Plan towns and local NGOs get involved voluntarily in preventing pollution and abuse of water bodies, as well as wise and equitable use of these natural resources. The citizens should also realise that every resource including water involves a cost for its conservation and protection and willingly pay their local taxes promptly so that the civic Authorities become self-sufficient in making civic services like sanitation and environment cost effective and efficient.

On this occasion, I would like to felicitate Shri Om Prakash Chautala, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Haryana since under his stewardship the Yamuna Action Plan Project has reached its culmination. I would also like to request the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Haryana to take effective steps through the State Pollution Control Board to ensure that no untreated industrial waste water is let into the sewerage system as it will adversely affect the functioning of the Sewage Treatment Plant.

I am given to understand that Haryana is likely to complete all the schemes under Yamuna Action Plan within the sanctioned cost of the projects. I hereby take this opportunity to compliment the officers and engineers of Haryana Government for this achievement.

I, once again, express my gratitude to Shri Om Prakash Chautala, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Haryana for the honour bestowed upon me at Gurgaon today. I wish you all a grand success in your future endeavours.