Yamuna river front development: MoEF seeks more time from green tribunal for action plan

Status report filed earlier this month raises concern over dumping of debris in river floodplain and construction too close to water channel

By Soma Basu
Published: Thursday 19 December 2013

The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has said in a submission to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that it would prepare an action plan for the restoration, preservation and management of all development works along the Yamuna by February 17.

The ministry has been getting flak from NGT for delay in preparing the action plan. On December 5, the ministry submitted a status report to NGT while pleading more time to prepare the plan. The status report said that debris was being dumped near the bank at Majnu Ka Tila in north Delhi and road construction is going on in the area. It also raised concern over embankments within the active flood plain, construction of houses within 300 metre from the river channel, construction of bathing ghats on the flood plain, reclamation of flood plain in the name of developing ghats and various other matters.

MoEF had formed a three-member expert committee to examine the Yamuna River Front Development Scheme of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) following an NGT order on September.

Professor emeritus at Delhi University's School of Environmental Studies  and chairperson of the committee, C R Babu, said on Wednesday that the scope of the work assigned to the panel is considerably big and involves important issues concerning Yamuna river front in respect of which the requisite data is yet to be collected and study carried out to suggest fruitful measures for improvement of Yamuna river front. He also pleaded that the panel would require time till March 15, next year.

The tribunal observed that the task at the hands of the expert committee indeed has a wide scope and would certainly require some more time. But the tribunal added it has been informed that some data is available with DDA and MoEF. Such data is provided for the first time by Geo-Spatial Delhi Ltd (GSDL) in form of 0.6m contour interval maps examination of which will result in better mapping of Yamuna River Front flood plan.

“In this scenario, we grant some time to the learned members of the committee till February 15, 2014, and we hope that efforts would be made to collect and analyse the data in order to suggest to us the fruitful measures by that time. If some more time is justifiably required we may consider that request on that date,” NGT said in its order.

It also directed the committee to mark the existing features of the Yamuna river front in the map, which they would prepare and a status report should be submitted February 15. The case would be heard next on February 17, 2014.

The action plan will be implemented on a pilot project basis on river Yamuna and may be extended to all rivers across India.

Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding Yamuna River Front Development Plan, 18/12/2013

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