DDA faces flak over plan to cover Shahdara drain to construct Dilli Haat | delhi | Hindustan Times
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DDA faces flak over plan to cover Shahdara drain to construct Dilli Haat

Delhi Tourism’s plan to gift east Delhi a ‘Dilli Haat’ of its own has hit a hurdle. The Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC) has criticised the move to construct the Dilli Haat by covering a part of the storm water drain near Mayur Vihar. Sidhartha Roy reports.

delhi Updated: Aug 28, 2013 00:45 IST
Sidhartha Roy

Delhi Tourism’s plan to gift east Delhi a ‘Dilli Haat’ of its own has hit a hurdle. The Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC) has criticised the move to construct the Dilli Haat by covering a part of the storm water drain near Mayur Vihar.

In a recent meeting, DUAC objected to the proposal of covering the drain, saying ‘it will have far reaching adverse repercussions’. The Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation (DTTDC) is yet to approach the commission for its approval.

The DUAC’s reaction came over the a public notice issued by Delhi Development Authority (DDA), seeking to change land use of the area. The arts panel observed that an environmental impact assessment needed to be done first. It said covering the drain would restrict its flow, which may result in flooding of residential areas. It asked the authorities to look for an alternative site for the proposed Haat and opposed any felling of trees for the project.

Environmental groups have opposed the project. Manu Bhatnagar of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage told the DDA that the project would reduce water recharge to the extent of 6 million litres every monsoon, which cannot be compensated by any water harvesting system.

“Densely-populated east Delhi is short of green cover and open spaces as compared to other parts of the city. Such drains mean plantation on their sides. The destruction of environmental assets is irreversible,” he told HT.

Manoj Misra of NGO Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan requested the Delhi’s L-G not to allow the project. “The drain is a greenway. Why destroy it? The project needs tree felling. Why cut trees to cover a space where massive compensatory plantation has to be taken up, for which there’s hardly any land left in the city.”

Though DTTDC has a piece of land near Geeta Colony earmarked for Dilli Haat, officials said the plot is too small to build the food and craft market. “That plot is just about 1.8 acres while we need 2.5-3 acres for such a market. Also, Mayur Vihar would prove to be a more ideal location for Dilli Haat than Geeta Colony,” said a senior DTTDC official.

“We are yet to submit a proposal to DUAC. This will be done after an environmental impact assessment. We will submit a detailed project report to the commission,” said DTTDC officials.