The cool and swift Metro ride that has changed the way Delhi commutes has a dark side as well. It uprooted thousands of trees. The major infrastructure boost also meant that the already dying Yamuna river was choked further with huge quantities of concrete -- all debris from Metro sites.
By its own admission, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has over the years dumped in the riverbed 50,400 metric tonnes of debris -- equivalent to around 8,000-9,000 truckloads.
DMRC managing director Mangu Singh has, in an affidavit filed before the National Green Tribunal, promised that the construction and demolition waste would be shifted to a processing unit at Burari in west Delhi by August 15 and no waste generated in the Phase III expansion will be dumped along the Yamuna.The DMRC has admitted that 10,000 metric tonnes of debris had been deposited at a site near Sarai Kale Khan on the western bank of the Yamuna. The site is located only 108 metres from the river. The DMRC has also promised that the entire construction and demolition waste from that site will be removed by August 15. The affidavit says the corporation is in the process of hiring an agency for the clean-up.
“As much as 400 metric tonnes of concrete blocks are lying near Yamuna Bank Metro station on the eastern bank. Blocks are being broken. An approach road is being made for their removal,” the affidavit says. At a site near Shashtri Park on the eastern bank, 350 metres from the river, 40,000 metric tonnes of debris has been deposited.
“We have started the removal. Around 30,000 metric tonnes will be removed by May 31 and the rest 10,000 by June 30,” Singh promised. The tribunal had asked various agencies, including the DMRC, to come clean on the debris they had dumped in the riverbed and the time-bound plan for removal. Manoj Misra of NGO Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan, on whose petition the National Green Tribunal began the hearing last year, said, “Our only concern is that removal should be done before the monsoon”.