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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

Green tribunal sends notices to Delhi govt, Centre on covering of drains

Darpan Singh, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 08, 2013
First Published: 10:27 IST(8/10/2013) | Last Updated: 10:30 IST(8/10/2013)

The National Green Tribunal on Monday issued notices to various departments of the Centre and the Delhi government in connection with rampant covering of stormwater drains in the city.

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The drains are being covered to build parking lots and commercial complexes across the Capital.

The tribunal was hearing a petition filed by Manoj Misra of the NGO Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan and former Indian Foreign Service official Madhu Bhaduri.

The petition has asked for a stay on all ongoing work on stormwater drains, their restitution and removal of encroachments.

On October 11, government agencies will explain the current state of affairs and seek instructions from the tribunal on how to set things right.

The petition mentions concretisation of the Kushak Drain to build a parking lot in south Delhi and a plan to build a Dilli Haat on the Shahdara link drain in east Delhi.

HT has been reporting how concretisation of these drains are causing threats of floods and other environmental hazards.

Despite clear guidelines from apex planning bodies UTTIPEC and the Delhi Urban Art Commission, concretisation keep happening.

Kushak Drain is a natural waterway of the city and a major tributary of the famous Barapulla drainage system that feeds the Yamuna.

The link drain is helpful in carrying the run-off during the monsoon and helps in preventing flooding of the area during excessive rains.

“Delhi is a flood-prone city because over time many such drains that acted as natural tributaries of the Yamuna have been turned into stormcum-waste water drains. Later, many of them were covered and obstructed from playing their natural role,” the petition reads.

“This has reduced the easy and efficient drainage and compromised biodiversity in and along these drains and their ability to recharge groundwater, carry clean water and keep the ambient air clean,” the petition says.

In addition, such conversion increases the flood-prone nature of the city where roads and streets become water-logged, traffic comes to a standstill (increasing manifold the air pollution) and people undergo unimaginable hardships during rains.

The standing water also raises the risk of fatal diseases like dengue.

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