Rampant construction taking place on the Yamuna floodplains may result in ecological disasters like the one seen in Uttarakhand, an expert committee has warned.
“Heavy monsoon in catchment areas may result in massive flooding because of the highly restricted floodway,” the committee formed by the ministry of environment and forests has said in its interim report.
The final action plan, likely in six months, will be placed before the National Green Tribunal for restoration of highly degraded Yamuna floodplains.
“Delhi has grown phenomenally at the expense of the Yamuna. Since 1947, the river has been highly altered. Construction has eaten into most of the floodplains. Practically, most of east Delhi and Noida are located on the floodplains,” it has said. “Development activities, both those in progress or planned by agencies will further increase the risk of floods. All construction on the floodplains must be stopped. There is an urgent need to conserve whatever floodway is left,” it has said and warned: “The river [still] has energy and can destroy urban settlements if it is not allowed its natural course.”
The committee has members from IIT-Delhi, JNU and University of Delhi. “The riverbed is highly sedimented due to discharge of raw sewage. Apart from three major drains, there are 18/19 others that discharge sewage into the Yamuna. Most of these drains were supposed to carry storm run-off and not sewage,” the interim report says.