The ambitious plans to redevelop Yamuna riverfront will soon be underway, as details have been worked out, said Delhi water minister Kapil Mishra on Monday.
A pet project of the AAP government, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced the Yamuna riverfront development project in November 2016, during the annual Yamuna Aarti at the Sonia Vihar ghats.
The plan to clean and beautify the Yamuna riverfront is expected to cost approximately Rs 200 crore. Mishra said that all formalities have been completed, and the project is now waiting to get the go-ahead from the Cabinet.
“It will be presented at the next Cabinet meeting. Once it is passed, the first phase of the project is expected to be completed in a year and a half,” he told HT.
The redevelopment project will have four packages. The first one will look at the immediate interventions required, such as enhancement of tree cover in forested area, improvement of existing gardens, dredging of river, and establishment of a nursery. This is expected to be completed by October 2017.
The next three packages will look at streetscaping, landscaping and sports facilities respectively, and is expected to be completed by October 2018. These will feature a rowing arena of international standards, wrestling grounds, cycling and pedestrian paths, bird watching and nature trails, and separate ghats for idol immersions, as it was argued that the new plans not only aim to clean the river Yamuna, but are also a part of larger efforts to promote tourism in the region.
In the first phase of the initiative, the riverfront for five kilometres upstream from Wazirabad will be re-imagined through eco-friendly methods, and no concrete will be used at any point. Only environmental friendly, bio degradable materials would be used to give the floodplains a facelift.
The riverfront will be beautified and cleaned by creating wetlands and growing plants that will help filter and clean the sewage that flows into the river. These decisions were made based on ecologist CR Babu’s recommendations.
It has also been proposed that the plans will not be successful unless supporting initiatives like building community toilets and solid waste management systems are also not implemented simultaneously.
Deemed to be one of the most polluted rivers in India, the government hopes to revive the entire Delhi leg of the river soon after. An astrology themed garden called ‘Nakshatra Vatika’ was inaugurated earlier this year by deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia near the Civil Lines, as part of the larger project to beautify the riverfront and help clean up the river that has been reduced to a mere drain.