Games Village, structures near Yamuna disastrous for Delhi

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New Delhi, Sep 18 (UNI) A city like Delhi begging for water from everywhere could not take a more suicidal step than to construct the Akshardham temple and the Commonwealth Games village on the Yamuna flood plains which is vital for recharging ground water, say experts.

The construction on the Yamuna bank has been undertaken against the advice of different expert committees, expers said participating in a seminar on the 'State of India Rivers' here.

''In fact, the Games Village is a big scam for minting money.

Games are just an excuse. After the event acts over, the flats constructed there will be sold to private owners, which will bring crores of money to the DDA and the contractors,'' said Dr Manoj Kumar Misra of the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan.

He said it was unfortunate that the DDA was refusing to see that the three large acquifers of the city are along the Yamuna bank.

The National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) in its impact report had advised against construction of any permanent residential and commercial structure, he said.

''The Standing Committee on Yamuna had disclosed to an applicant under RTI that it had not permitted any permanent structure on the river bank. There is no permission from any other authority either,'' said Prof Misra, a former Environment Ministry official.

Moreover, he said, Delhi is built over the faultline. According to an experts study, the city may experience an earthquake of the magnitude of seven on Richter scale in near future which would flatten all construction built on the flood plains of the river.

Prof Misra tried to caution those who were advocating the development of the river front taking their model from European cities like Oxford and Vienna.

These European cities receive rainfall throughout the year while Delhi receives same for just three months.

The things did not stop with the Akshardham temple and the Commonwealth Games Village, as a Metro depot and another temple was being constructed on the 52 hectares of the river bank.

''Akshardham temple is a beautiful site, but it is at the worst site,'' he added.

The entire area housing these structures was under water during previous floods in Delhi, and it has an unstable base of deep sedimentary layer, he said.

He called upon the citizens to oppose the Games village plan as it was still not too late to do so.

Supreme Court Lawyer Prashant Bhushan also said there was no Expert committee and the Environment and Forest Ministry clearance for the Metro Depot.

Despite the Ministry's reservations, the project was finally cleared under political pressure, he claimed.

In fact the same happened in the case of Sardar Sarover Dam too.

The Ministry had asked the Government that it should study the impact of the dam on the catchment and command area of the river, but the Government never carried out any study. Finally, the Ministry had to give in under pressure and said the Government could go ahead with the project, but should take mitigation step in time, which is absurd, said Mr Bhushan.

The lawyer, who is also a human rights activist, said it was surprising that the court took steps to remove slums from the Yamuna bank on the grounds that they were polluting the river, but it had keep its eyes shut towards the constructions on its bank, which is clearly a legal case.

On pollution of the Yamuna water, JNU prof Brij Gopal said that sewage should not be allowed to go in to Yamuna at all. The solid waste should be treated by urban local bodies.

Dr Suresh Babu of the Centre for Science and Environment said that water treatment should begin at the home and colony level, only then pollution of the river could be checked.

UNI

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