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NGT wants a riverfront plan that lays stress on cleaning Yamuna

 

The Times of India, New Delhi, 5th September, 2014

 

NEW DELHI: The National Green Tribunal on Thursday expanded the scope of two related cases on the Yamuna riverfront development project and natural drains leading into the river. This was done so that Yamuna's problems can be addressed holistically. This also means Delhiites can look forward to a riverfront that is left to itself and its riparian ecosystem allowed to thrive naturally.

 

NGT directed a committee of scientists, vice chairman of Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) officials to analyse how it can be ensured that no sewage is let into the 201 natural drains identified in a 1976 map sourced by committee members.

 

The same committee had submitted a detailed report on how DDA's riverfront project can be replaced by a more "ecological" approach which doesn't involve any construction?temporary or permanent on Yamuna floodplains.

 

This means that DDA's original riverfront development project that involved development of the Yamuna Biodiversity Park, Qudsia Ghat near ISBT, Golden Jubilee Park, and NH-24 to DND flyway will be modified extensively. A part of the river zone was to be developed as a public recreational area with parking lots, cafes, walkways, bamboo structures and a riverfront ?walk', serving as a promenade.

 

DDA officials told TOI on Thursday that they will prepare for modifications as per what has been submitted to NGT. "We will only implement recommendations that have been submitted to NGT. Finer details will be announced soon," said a senior official from DDA. It is, however, not clear whether DDA will demolish the structures it has already made as part of the project.

 

On Thursday, the bench said they are looking at the larger picture where both the pollution in Yamuna is addressed and an ecologically sound riverfront is developed. It directed the committee to specify how sewage can be kept off the natural drains within three weeks. They specifically asked them to explore how sewage treatment plants (STP) can be set up to ensure that no sewage enters these large drains and consequently don't pollute the river.