I am green by choice , not by chance
What have been your achievements in improving Delhi's environment ?
I think the air quality in Delhi has improved in the last couple of months since we have banned the use of polluting vehicles. The Yamuna is getting a lesser load of pollutants. However, it is not as clean as we would like it to be. We have closed down several polluting units which were dumping untreated waste into the river. We have made it mandatory for all the industrial units to put up common effluent treatment plants ( cetp s). The construction of two cetp s is nearing completion. We still need seven more, which we hope to complete by 2001. I am sure the water quality in the Yamuna will improve in the days to come.
However, there are still some sewage treatment plants that do not meet the prescribed standards. We are rectifying these problems.I have also asked the chief secretary to monitor the functioning of both the sewage treatment plants ( stp s) and the cetp s.
There is a general perception that the Delhi government acts only on court orders. Even the closure of the industries, that you have talked about, was ordered by the court.
That is not entirely true. We have taken effective steps on our own to improve the conditions in Delhi. However, there are many problems. For example, we want to discourage use of diesel and want vehicles to convert to cng , but the problem of availability of kits, availability of gas and availability of buses is impeding its use. Another reason for the slow progress is that the ministry of petroleum has been unable to provide adequate gas supply.
We also propose to give incentives to three-wheelers, such as zero sales tax and concessions in interest rates, to switch to cng . The task is no doubt a mammoth one, considering the large number of vehicles in Delhi and those that come from the satellite towns. If people cannot get their vehicles registered in Delhi, they simply go to Haryana or Uttar Pradesh where stringent regulations do not exist. So it is difficult to keep a check on them.
Why is the conversion rate of DTC buses so slow? Your government has often stated the high costs as an obstruction.
We have an action plan to convert 10,000 buses to cng by the year 2001. We also intend to buy 1,000 new buses. Unfortunately, all our plans have been bogged down by the non-availability of cng kits for converting old buses. We have had to float a global tender for cng buses as the two Indian manufacturers