DMRC flouted environmental norms during Phase III implementation: CAG
No environment clearance was obtained by DMRC for the Phase-III project even though it had constructed four metro car maintenance depots each having a built-up area of more than 20,000 sqm
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) failed to adhere to various environmental requirements like in obtaining environmental clearance, conducting water audit, maintaining records of water extracted, consumed and lost, monitoring of compensatory afforestation during the implementation of its Phase-III project, a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India said.
The DMRC is required to comply with various environmental provisions under the National Environment Policy, the Central Water Commission, Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, and Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act etc.
However, as per the CAG in its recent performance audit report on the implementation of Phase-III Delhi Mass Rapid Transit System by DMRC, it was observed that no environment clearance was obtained by DMRC for the Phase-III project even though it had constructed four metro car maintenance depots each having a built-up area of more than 20,000 sqm.
"General Guidelines for Water Audit & Water Conservation" by the Central Water Commission (2017) recommends water audit as an important management tool for effective conservation of water. DMRC Water Policy (2013) also provides to minimise wastages by carrying out half-yearly water audits at selected stations and depots. However, as per the audit, "DMRC uses water for construction work and operation and maintenance purposes, but it did not conduct any water audits at stations, depots and construction sites from 2011 to March 31, 2020."
"It neither assessed the extent of water losses and efficiency of the system nor performed any cost-benefit analysis for optimum recovery of water. It also did not formulate a Water Management Plan," the report stated.
It further observed that during the entire Phase-III project, no details and records for water extracted, consumed or loss of water were maintained either by DMRC or the contractors. There were no checks and balances for the extraction and consumption of water by the contractors.
This happened despite the recommendation by Central Water Commission and Central Ground Water Board that supplies to industries should be from surface water and if the groundwater supply is considered essential, it should be managed by a government agency.
A total of 1,74,550 trees were to be planted in lieu of 17,455 trees to be cut under compensatory afforestation by DMRC during the period from 2011 to 2019. However, due to the absence of proper records by the Forest Department and monitoring by DMRC as no site visit or inspection was conducted by DMRC officials during April 2011 to December 2018, the audit could not verify whether Forest Department planted the required number of trees on behalf of DMRC.
Besides, noise levels were higher than permissible values at different locations of Line-7 -- the 58.596 km long stretch from Majlis Park to Shiv Vihar as wheel profiling of rolling stock was being carried out after running some kilometres, the report added.