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Construction killing city’s lungs

delhi Updated: Jun 01, 2009 23:20 IST
Harish V. Nair
Harish V. Nair
Hindustan Times
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Danger alert for Delhi Ridge area —the Capital’s green lungs.

Rampant unauthorised construction has not only adversely affected the ecology, but also depleted the area’s water-table, a Central Ground Water Authority report filed in Delhi High Court said.

Inhabitants of surrounding areas could face acute water shortage in the near future as the dense network of tube-wells may soon dry up, the report called “Impact of Construction and other activities in the ridge area of the Aravallis in NCT of
Delhi” warned.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice A.P. Shah has issued a show-cause notice to the Centre and the Delhi government.

It asked them why the court shouldn’t order stoppage of all construction in the area. They will have to reply by July 15.

The court is hearing a PIL filed by environmentalists seeking an immediate stop to all constructions on the ridge and to
notify the area as a groundwater sanctuary.

The water authority said the ridge area, which receives higher rainfall, recharged underlying aquifers and unbridled development activity may adversely affect the ground water table
further.

The reduced recharge in the hilly area will adversely affect the yield of tube-wells in the surrounding area, the report added.

The water authority had, in 2004, suggested that infrastructural activity in the area be kept in check so the ecological balance was maintained.

They authority had said so based on a study of water fluctuation in the area.

They had also suggested measures like rainwater harvesting and planting trees to improve the delicate ecology in the area.

Citing an example, the report said, “Long-term water level behaviour at Bhatti village indicated that during 1996 to 2003 the ground water level witnessed a sharp decline of 17m, from around 30 m to 47 m below ground level, whereas a net rise of 2 m in ground water level (47 m to 45 m below ground level) was observed during 2003 to 2007, despite less rainfall.”

This rise in water level was attributed to closure of mining activity in the area.

The authority said areas mainly located along the foothills on either sides of the Aravalli range witnessed a decline in the water level in April 2008. Urbanization is very high in these areas.

The ridge consists of quartzite rocks and extends from the southeast at Tuglakhabad
near the Bhatti mines, branching out in places and tapering off in the north near Wazirabad on the west bank of the Yamuna, covering a distance of about
35 km.