The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday directed the governments of Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh to clear all concrete illegal structures from the notified no-development zones on the Yamuna river floodplains, including the Hindon river.
If the latest NGT directives are implemented, Vrindavan walk, high-rise buildings in Noida and Greater Noida and homes in Agra may be razed to the ground.
Different municipal bodies have different definition of the no-development zones. It is 500 metres from the riverbed in Agra, 200 metres from highest floodplain in Varanasi and 100 metres from the riverbed in Delhi.
The NGT, while hearing a petition by Akash Vashishtha, had asked the state governments to implement their own definition of the no-development zones. Different government agencies across states admitted that concrete structures have come up on the river floodplains.Unabated rapid urbanisation close to the river has resulted in shrinking of the riverbed.
Around 4,000 acres of Yamuna floodplain had been encroached along 30 km of the river in Noida. The religious cities of Mathura and Vrindavan have also built concrete structures on the riverbed. Agra is said to have about 21 colonies within the no-development zone.
The tribunal bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar directed the state government officials to ensure that all unauthorised constructions are removed and a compliance report is filed within four weeks.
The tribunal also directed officials to immediately stop any ongoing construction or development work. It asked the state governments to submit a 25-year plan on rejuvenating the Yamuna.