The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has come up with a plan to beautify and develop a 46-km stretch along Yamuna - almost the entire length of the river in Delhi - even as the government and civic authorities struggle to clean the riverbed of debris and waste.
The DDA has submitted the plan, which includes setting up of bio-diversity parks, to a committee formed by the National Green Tribunal that is currently monitoring removal of waste from the riverbank.
Authority officials Savita Bhandari and Neelima Soni have informed the committee that the authority, the UP government, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation and some other agencies own the stretch that they have zeroed down on. They noted that several unauthorised colonies, agricultural land and illegal nurseries had cropped up along the stretch.
The DDA will first work on areas that are free of encroachment and legal issues. After removal of unauthorised colonies and encroachment, the project area will be expanded. The committee, headed by the secretary of union ministry of environment and forests V Rajagopalan, will seek comments from other departments and, if needed, from the director of IIT-Delhi, before a comprehensive plan is placed before the tribunal for on May 23.
The tribunal had earlier asked the DDA to submit a plan to make the Yamuna banks, which have turned into a site for dumping debris, into a developed, beautified and pollution-free stretch.
The DDA has built two bio-diversity parks with technical inputs from the Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystems, University of Delhi. The Yamuna Biodiversity Park is presently spread over an area of approximately 457 acres near Wazirabad village. The Aravalli Biodiversity Park is located on the South Central Ridge and sprawls over an area of 692 acres.
Experts, however, believe beautification and development of the riverbed will not be easy as DDA itself is planning regularise several colonies such as Sonia Vihar and Jaitpur apart from some villages. If this happens, the total riverbed that runs into about 10,000 hectares, will be reduced by 20 per cent.