The fury of nature seen in Uttarakhand could happen in the Capital if development near the Yamuna’s banks is not stemmed, environmentalists said in a public hearing convened by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on Friday.
The DDA plans to change the land use of areas near the Yamuna, where the Delhi Transport Corporation’s Millennium Depot is located, from "river and water body" to "transportation". It had invited objections or suggestions from the public on the matter in April this year and those who had submitted their suggestions were invited for a hearing on Friday.
The Millennium Depot came up in the area abutting Ring Road and National Highway 24 as a temporary structure to accommodate buses to ferry athletes during the 2010 Commonwealth Games. While the sporting event was over within a fortnight, the depot has remained.
The Delhi High Court had allowed the state government on September 13, 2012, to make the depot on the bank of the Yamuna a permanent structure provided the Master Plan of Delhi 2021 is amended within six months to alter the land use to "transport" and bring it in conformity with the present use. The court had said that if the MPD was not amended, the depot would have to be relocated.
"The court had allowed a six-month window and the present process started after that," said Manoj Misra, convenor of the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan. "This process doesn’t have any legality and I said so in the hearing. The DDA should remove the depot instead of facilitating its regularisation," he said.
"The depot has no environmental clearance and violates the norms for Zone O of the master plan of Delhi," he said. "Else, we would witness a Uttarakhand-like disaster here."