In a major blow to environmentalists, the Delhi high court on Thursday allowed the state government to make the DTC millennium bus depot on the banks of the Yamuna a permanent structure.
A bench headed by acting chief justice AK Sikri gave the government six months to amend the master plan to alter the land use from recreational to transport and bring it in conformity with the present use.
The court said that in case if the government did not amend the master plan, there would be no option but to re-locate the depot.
The court gave the judgment on PILs filed by environmentalists Manoj Mishra and Vinod Jain demanding demolition of the depot on the grounds that construction was against the master plan and zonal plan for the river.
It said that such concretisation will badly affect the water recharge capacity of the area and will prove harmful for the river.
The depot was temporarily constructed by the DTC for the Commonwealth Games.
"The reality is that as per Master Plan Delhi 2021, land use is river water body. So any construction has to be in conformity with the master plan and therefore let it be amended to change the land use," the court said.
The government's standing counsel Najmi Waziri told the court that lieutenant-governor Tejinder Khanna had on January 31 this year allowed the DDA to change the land use of the depot and since it had become a policy decision, there was not much scope for the court to intervene.
The court also took on record Waziri's contention that the site when acquired for the bus depot was not a riverbed but a fly ash dumping ground since 1960.
The court made it clear to the government that proper procedures like issuing notice to the public at large and inviting objections from the public should be followed while amending the master plan.