Millennium Post
Delhi

Encroachement eats into 40% of Yamuna floodplains

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) have slammed the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) over its ignorance on how the Art of Living event was damaging the already fragile eco balance of the Yamuna. 

Environment activists have pointed out how over 20-30 years large tracts of the Yamuna floodplains are being acquired for realty projects, which if not checked can cause an ecological disaster.

Bhim Rawat of South Asia Network on Dams, River and People said the total river zone area in Delhi is 9,700 hectares, of which 1,600 the is Yamuna river and the rest 8,100 is dry land, referred to as river zone or floodplain. Rawat said since 8,100 hectares provide a prime real estate value, most of it is slowly getting encroached upon for urban development, citing expansion of Delhi. 

Some of the prominent landmarks that have been built on the floodplains include Majnu ka Tilla ,  ITO power plants, Okhla and Batla House colonies, Millennium Bus Depot, Delhi secretariat, Akshardham and CWG village.

Akshardham and Commonwealth Games (CWG) Village alone have occupied 150 hectares of the floodplains.

Many activists have said on pretext of building green parks and nurseries, vast tracts of the river’s floodplain were acquired and demanded accountability of the institution in dealing with the matter.

The case of encroachment on the Yamuna riverbed and its depleting floodplains has also come under NGT’s scanner,  which in 2013 had demanded accountability from various departments, particularly police, irrigation, environment and PWD of Haryana, Delhi, UP to discharge their statutory obligations related to constructions on floodplains in accordance with law.

According to environmentalists, there have been 40 per cent loss of Yamuna floodplains in the last 40 years due to encroachment. Worse, according to the zonal development plan for River Yamuna (2006 report ) shows how recommendations like developing botanical park, bird sanctuary and lakes were not adhered to.

Under the report  certain steps that were mulled to improve the Yamuna were to build low-cost toilets, sewage treatment plants, electric crematoriam, bathing ghats and plantations.

Activists allege that the real estate value of the Yamuna is resulting in the slow death of the river. 
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