The Delhi Government on Monday strongly defended the construction of a huge bus depot on the Yamuna riverbed, saying it will not be dismantled.
Asked whether the government will dismantle the Millennium Park bus depot as land for it was given to Delhi Transport Corporation by DDA to park buses only during the Commonwealth Games, chief secretary Rakesh Mehta said it will continue to function.
Various environmental organisations are demanding dismantling of the depot, saying it will adversely affect the river Yamuna and the eco-system surrounding it.
The bus depot, spread over a 60-acre-plot and built at a cost of R61 crore, has parking space for around 1,000 low-floor buses besides various other facilities, including five workshop-cum- scanning centres, a logistic centre and two CNG filling stations.
Rejecting the demand of the environmentalists to dismantle the depot, he said the facility is "extremely important" for smooth functioning of the DTC bus service.
He said, when the private operators start their cluster bus services, then DTC will require parking facility for 10,000 buses. Currently, the DTC has parking facilities for only 7,000 buses. "We need to create parking facilities for 3,000 buses at critical points in the city. Not only parking, we need washing areas, maintenance areas, quarters for maintenance staff for smooth functioning of the bus service," he said.
When asked if land was given on a temporary basis, Mehta said the government had said it will not build office blocks and other kinds of facilities and create facilities merely required for the depot.
"They (environmentalists) are opposing the facility, saying it will adversely affect the Yamuna. But what about air pollution? Yamuna can be cleaned but if we do not modernise our bus services, then it will lead to air pollution," he said.
The depot was constructed to park buses which were used to ferry athletes and officials during the Games.