A plan to develop the Yamuna riverfront, which has been lying in cold storage for two and a half years, might get a new lease of life.
Once developed, the riverfront will increase Delhi’s green cover, stop encroachment and give Delhi a clean recreational area.
According to Delhi Jal Board chairperson Kapil Mishra, the Delhi government is working on a project to develop the riverfront and the plan drawn up by ecologist CR Babu is what they will go by.
The plan was drawn up by Babu and a team of experts and submitted to the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) in October 2013. Efforts to implement it have not been made since then. DDA owns and controls the land around the river.
According to the plan, submitted to the Lieutenant Governor (chairperson of DDA) by Babu, the whole 52-kilometer long river front from Palla to Jaitpur can be developed for multiple benefits. The existing embankments will be used to develop a green mesh using plants, herbs and trees.
“We will be using the plan that was submitted to the DDA as it is very well researched. I met experts on Sunday morning to discuss the modalities and am very optimistic,” said Mishra.
Babu has been instrumental in planning and creating the Yamuna Biodiversity Park, Wazirabad , which has wetlands, grasslands fruit yielding species and several medicinal herbs along with native flora and fauna that had become extinct.
On the river floodplain, wetlands will be created. These wetlands can protect the river and clean impurities that flow into the river, as well. Wetlands, with a variety of plants for the purpose, are very effective at treating sewerage. In some cases, they are more effective than sewage treatment plants, experts say.
A project to use wetlands to treat sewage is already under construction by DDA at Barapulla. The ‘Toilet to Tap’ pilot project also used biofilters in the form of stones, soil and plants. The floodplains, too, will be developed in a similar manner under the plan.
Eco parks, walkways and cycle tracks will also be developed to bring people closer to the river.
The problem with the implementation of the plan, however, is the multiplicity of agencies involved. While most of the land around the river is owned by DDA, the authorities that are responsible for the river and its water are many.
“We will request DDA to start working on the plan and will give all support possible. If they don’t want to implement the plan, we are more than happy to start the work,” Mishra said.
Multiplicity of authorities – the land around the river comes under DDA, the river under the central government and the distribution of water and sewage treatment plants under Delhi government
Vacating the land around the river – thousands of illegal structures have come up near the river. Relocating inhabitants and farmers will be difficult