Delhi: Yamuna will be dredged for water taxi service, debris to be used to construct roads
The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) will be allowed to dredge the Delhi part of Yamuna to run a ferry service. Disposing of the excavated material has been a major cause of concern for authorities, and hence, they planned to explore avenues to make best use of it.delhi Updated: Jan 31, 2017 22:51 IST
In an environmentally conscious approach, the Centre is planning to use debris and sediments gathered from dredging the river Yamuna for the construction of roads in Delhi and NCR.
A feasibility report is to be conducted in this regard, after which an arrangement will be made with National Highway Authority of India and the Public Works Department, said a senior official of the ministry for road transport, highways and shipping.
The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) will be allowed to dredge the Delhi part of Yamuna to run a ferry service. Disposing of the excavated material has been a major cause of concern for authorities, and hence, they planned to explore avenues to make best use of it.
“Dredging of Yamuna is mandatory because a certain depth is required for smooth navigation of the ferry. However, disposing of sediments and debris from the river is one of the issues to be addressed. One suggestion has been that it may be used for construction of roads. After a proper research, the material will be used for road construction in Delhi and NCR,” said the official, adding that testing will be done to ascertain whether this will have any impact on environment.
Experts say that apart from road construction or riprap, the dredged material can be used for manufacturing of bricks, ceramics, and concrete.
“It may be useful for restoration or nourishment of aquatic and wetland environments,” said an expert. The dredged material is composed of silt, clay, sediments, and organic matters.
Environmentalists expressed doubts over government’s intention saying that the move seemed to benefit sand miners. “We fought for years so that river sand extraction could be banned. Now, they have reinvented the term for sand mining, and call it ‘dredging’. There is huge difference between ‘removing silt’ and ‘dredging’. The move aims to favour contractors,” said Rajendra Singh, water conservationist and a Magsaysay awardee.
Another environmentalist, Manoj Misra, said that dredging disturbs the aquatic system of the river and is a threat to its embankment. “It will disturb the ecosystem along river Yamuna. It should not be done. Instead, the authorities should work to ensure adequate water availability in the river,” said Misra, who is also the convener of Yamuna Jive Abhiyaan.