The protest over construction on the Yamuna riverbed received a thrust as a forum of members of Parliament and city MLAs was launched on Friday.
Former Defence Minister George Fernandes and Delhi BJP chief Harsh Vardhan will lend their support to the cause as members of ‘Green Forum’. Among the other members is Dalit leader Udit Raj.
For a start, the forum has called for a ‘white paper’ on all constructions on the river’s bed. “A letter will be submitted to the chief minister on Saturday. We will give the government 10 days to respond or else a mass protest will be launched,” said Udayan Namboodiri, journalist and convenor. At the launch, Fernandes said the forum would go all over the country and mobilise support from people for environmental causes. “Development and environmental degradation cannot coexist,” he said.
Harsh Vardhan, who is the forum’s Delhi head, said, “Every Delhiite has the right to know what exactly the government wants to do with the river. There has to be transparency. The forum will ensure that,” he said.
"The forum will have a leader in every state. Fernandes will be the national campaigner,” Namboodiri said.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant-Governor Tejendra Khanna has issued an open invitation to all concerned, including NGOs and independent experts, to propose specific issues that should be examined by experts to be appointed for a detailed study in order to take the ongoing debate over constructions on the Yamuna riverbed to a consensual solution.
The L-G had made this move as the chairman of the high-power committee on Yamuna River Development set up earlier by the central government. The invitation is open till September 21.