'Bus depot on riverbed without DDA permission'
The contentious Millennium Depot of the Delhi Transport Corporation on the Yamuna riverbed has come up without permission from the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), the land-owning agency.
In an RTI reply last week, the DDA’s planning department said that “no permission for construction of depot at this location has been given.”
“We had given permission for temporary parking for some 600 buses during the Common-wealth Games,” said a senior DDA official on condition of anonymity.
The DTC has requested the DDA to change the land-use to make the depot permanent. The site was earmarked for the dumping of fly ash. The controversy over the bus depot started after the Common-wealth Games with the Delhi government’s reluctance to shift out of riverbed, where permanent construction is not allowed. The matter reached the high court recently.
Meanwhile, no department of the Delhi government wants to share the blame for the depot.
Even the DTC itself, in an RTI reply, put the responsibility of building the depot on the public works department. When the RTI query asked whether the Millennium Depot was a permanent or a temporary structure, the DTC said, “The depot has been constructed by the PWD; the information can be had from the Chief Engineer’s office of the PWD.”
The Prime Minister’s office (PMO) recently referred a protest petition on the issue from environmentalists to chief secretary’s office in Delhi. The chief secretary in turn referred it to the environment department, which then referred the matter to the Delhi Development Authority saying the issue pertained to riverbed, which was under the DDA’s jurisdiction.
In 2009, the office of the Delhi Lieutenant-Governor as gave Delhi government the permission for temporary parking of buses on the Ash Pond area for the Games.
Although no permanent structure was supposed to have come up there, the Delhi government went ahead and spent Rs 60 crore to develop the 61-acre area. In the petition to the PM, environmental groups called this an “open loot” of Delhi’s natural asset, the floodplains.