Monday, June 22, 2009

Govt nod for DTC parking on Yamuna flood plain

New Delhi The Delhi government has given the go-ahead for the construction of a Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus parking next to the Commonwealth Games Village for 300 buses on the ecologically sensitive and moratorium-bound Yamuna flood plain. While Lieutenant-Governor Tejendra Khanna had earlier ordered a moratorium on any construction activity on the Yamuna flood plain, the government has given its clearance (falling in ‘Green Use Zone’) citing “security concerns”.

The Delhi Development Authority and Commonwealth Games Committee have decided that the parking area will be “temporary” and will have maximum activity of compressing the earth or providing perforated paving blocks, with setting up of “temporary infrastructure”. But environmentalists fear that ‘temporary’ structures often become ‘permanent’, and claim the permission is in contradiction to the protection given to the flood plain.

The Commonwealth Games Village itself was supposed to be a temporary structure but was later converted to a permanent one. In November last year, the Delhi High Court set up an expert committee under climate change leader R K Pachauri to assess constructions on the Yamuna flood plain.

Meanwhile, the government says the parking site, next to the abandoned Mayur Vihar pontoon bridge and parallel to the Noida link road, has been chosen as it is closest to the Games Village. “The Delhi Police approached us saying there were security concerns over the buses. The Games Village compound can accommodate only about 25-30 buses,” says Officer on Special Duty to L-G Ranjan Mukherjee. “But the L-G has specified that the parking area will be strictly temporary. This area will be used only for a period of two to three weeks for parking buses. There was no other land available for this. For practical purposes and security reasons, the buses should be as close as possible to the Games Village,” he says.

The environmentalists, however, differ. “There is a history of temporary constructions becoming permanent features, by some excuse or other. The DTC already has a huge depot at Mayur Vihar. Why can’t that be used? This particular area falls under the flood plain which the government says it is trying to protect,” says Manoj Misra from Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan. The group has also written a letter to the L-G. “We have asked the L-G to review his decision. We have also suggested that other vacant land in Mayur Vihar may be utilised for the purpose,” Misra says.

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