Delhi court defers Yamuna embankment petition

    By IANS,

    New Delhi : The Delhi High Court Friday declined to stay the construction of an embankment on the Yamuna flood plain where Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC)’s Millennium Park Bus Depot has been built.

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    The court, however, said construction of any permanent structure on the river front would be subject to the outcome of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by an NGO.

    A division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said: “An application filed by Vinod Jain, an enviromentalist, seeking a stay on the construction of the embankment will be taken up along with the PIL.”

    The matter has been listed for March 9, for further hearing of the matter.

    The PIL alleged that the embankment, including the bus depot, would cause environmental disaster as it is located on the active flood plain and water recharging area.

    “The Delhi government is proceeding to encroach upon the river flood plain in utter disregard to the zonal development plan 2021 of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), approved by the ministry of urban development,” the petitioner said in his complaint.

    Earlier, Jain had filed a PIL through counsel Arvind Shah saying that the bus depot was constructed for a temporary period in view of the Commonwealth Games 2010 after which the government should have left the area in its original form as flood plain.

    He also said the construction of the depot near Nizamuddin bridge would cause environmental disaster as the depot is located on the active flood plain and water recharging area.

    He said the authorities have ignored the provisions of the masterplan and the zonal plan by allowing the construction which would jeopardise the efforts for rejuvenation of the river Yamuna and its flood plains.

    “River Yamuna has been placed in Zone’O’ considered as eco-sensitive. Even the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) has identified the entire area as potential aquifer for the management of ground water resources. Construction of the depot is not environment regenerating,” the petitioner said in the PIL.

    The depot, spread over 390 hectares, was inaugurated in September 2010 by the Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit.

    It has five workshop-cum-bus scanning centres, seven dormitories for Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) officers, night stay for 500 persons, eight washing pits, four underground tanks for washing buses and two CNG filling stations.

    The depot was constructed within a very short period at a cost of Rs.61 crore and can be called the greenest depot in the country.