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Controversy shrouds C'wealth Games site

A concerned Delhi government wants that the river bed plan be revived for the development of the area, reports Amitabh Shukla.

india Updated: Jan 14, 2007 18:57 IST

Following the controversy on the site for the Commonwealth Games village at the Yamuna river bed, a concerned Delhi government wants that the river bed plan, finalised by the DDA in 1990, be revived for the development of the area.

The DDA report on "Planning of Yamuna river bed" was finalised after expert advice and the report of independent government agencies. The Ministry of Environment, which now wants a change in the venue, had then agreed to the proposals of the DDA. The report, however, has confined to the shelves all these years.

"All our planning has been made keeping in view the Games village site near the Akshardham temple. It would be difficult to make preparations afresh if a new site is chosen," said Delhi Urban Development Minister AK Walia.

The report of 1990 wanted the channelisation of the river in which 550-600 metres was to be left for the flow of the river. It recommended reclamation of the 7300 hectares of land from the river bed. Of this 7300 hectares of land in the heart of the city, the report wanted 85 per cent to be used for recreational activity, 3 per cent each for residential and commercial development, 6 per cent for public and semi public facilities and another 3 per cent for circulation (roads).

The report said that two bandhs (barriers) would be built on either side of the water channel for the control of floods. The total area of the river bed is 9700 hectares in which 2400 hectares is under water and the balance of 7300 hectares was sought for reclamation.

The report said that release of 7300 hectares of land for planned development – mainly for recreational activity would integrate the two parts of the city with the river front on either side. The recreational activity would include vast green spaces, water sports, race course, golf course, tourist cottages, camping sites, pleasure parks for different age groups etc.

For the improvement of the water quality in the river, the DDA had suggested several measures, including construction of sewage treatment plants at various locations to treat sewage water falling in the river.

Walia said the government was studying the report afresh. "The proposals should be considered afresh and some changes brought about in the modalities. This report could prove to be a turning point in the rejuvenation of the river and its surrounding areas," he said.

Email Amitabh Shukla: ashukla@hindustantimes.com