Facing the Delhi High Court’s ire for making the Delhi Transport Corporation’s (DTC) Millennium bus depot on the banks of the Yamuna a permanent structure, the Delhi government has promised to plant over 12,000 trees in the area to make up for the damage to the environment in the eco-sensitive zone.
The high court had criticised the state government on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by environmentalists Manoj Mishra and V K Jain, who had sought the demolition of the bus depot. They contended that the depot was intended to be a temporary structure constructed in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games. They said the structure violated the Master Plan and zonal plan for the Yamuna. The PIL claimed that concrete structures on the river bed will affect the water recharge capacity of the area.
The petitioners’ counsel Jayant Bhushan argued that the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) had in March 2011 admitted the depot was built on the river bed, declared zone O where only green/recreational development is permitted.
“DTC is informed that aiming environmental improvement, the government is in the process of planting 7,000 plants near the depot. Additional 5,500 plants are being planted by the Garden and Park Society at an estimated cost of Rs 23.79 lakh,” DTC deputy chief general manager AK Chawla said in his affidavit submitted to the court.
Seeking to allay the fears of the environmentalists, the affidavit said: “The bus depot will have a sewage treatment plant and effluent treatment plan to ensure that no waste water is dumped into the river.”
Urging the court to allow it to use the depot till an alternative site was allotted, the DTC said DDA was required to provide adequate land for bus depots.