As rain brought the city to a standstill, environmentalists blamed civic authorities for the mess. The activists claimed that the situation turned bad as the government failed to include Ghata bundh (check dam) in the natural conservation zones (NCZs).
The environmentally fragile NCZ comprises forest areas, water bodies and river beds. The zone can be defined as an area where construction beyond a limit of 0.5% is not permitted under the National Capital Regional Plan 2021 (RP-21).
The Ghata bundh, constructed in 1889 to collect water flowing out of Mandi, Gawal Pahari, Bundwari and Baliawas villages, has failed to collect water because of faulty planning, stated a letter written by irrigation department to the chief coordinator planner (NCR) on July 5.
“The bundh has a height of 26 feet, width of 30 feet and a total length of 3,500 feet in litres. As per the irrigation department, 5-foot water was collected at Ghata bundh in August 2008,” the letter stated.
“The Ghata bundh has not received water after 2008 due to construction of large number of multi-storied buildings and houses in the surroundings,” said A Pahuja, chief engineer of the irrigation department.
Environmentalist Amit Choudhary said, “The bundh faces the threat of encroachment because it is still not included in NCZ.”
Experts pointed out that since water is not getting collected in Ghata, it is entering the Badshahpur drain, increasing pressure on it.
Another environmentalist Chetan Agarwal said, “The flow of water to the Ghata bundh area has been deliberately stopped. Instead, the town and country planning (T&CP) department diverted the water to the Badshahpur drain, thereby losing the buffering capacity of the Ghata bundh and overloading the Badshahpur drain.”
This has also hit the process of groundwater recharge of the region, he pointed out.
The activist further said that the water fails to reach Ghata because the Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda) constructed roads in Sector 58 roads which are 8-10 feet higher than the surface level.
In a letter written by the SDO of YWS circle, Faridabad, in 2011, it was stated, “It is not totally correct under the present circumstances as Huda has constructed a stormwater drain along the sector road to Kost Nullah.”
However, in the following year, the town and country planning department conducted a survey of the area and recommended that stormwater drain can be constructed.
“Because of this faulty planning, the city experienced havoc,” said Vivek Kamboj, another environmentalist.