India has forgotten the value of rivers FIXING THE RIVER
Zone O in the current Master Plan Delhi has been designed to keep people away from the river Yamuna
Most Indian cities - be it Delhi, Varanasi, Kochi, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune or Kanpur - have emerged on the banks of rivers A precious natural resource and a valuable cultural element, rivers in most cities today are nothing more than open sewers. There is, therefore, an urgent need for their restoration, conservation and revitalisation through proper master planning.
The Zone O in the new Master Plan Delhi is geared to protect the river Yamuna, but by keeping people away from it, say experts. This is not the solution to save, clean and sustain the ecology of the river.
With the advent of piped water supplies, the river has gradually lost its importance. Unfortunately, we have forgotten the significant role rivers play in urban settlements and they are now neglected. Rivers in Indian cities are nothing more than open sewers today, with indiscriminate garbage dumping, slowly moving towards death, says Professor P S N Rao, an urban expert and professor at SPA, Delhi.
While Indian cities have master plans prescribing land uses and other things, little effort is spared towards detailing of the river. Quite contrary to Indian master planning practices, in most of the Western world, specific master plans for rivers have been created and implemented, he says, adding contrary to Indian master planning practices, in most of the western world, specific master plans for rivers have been created and implemented, he says.
Manit Rastogi of Morphogenesis says that every river that flows through a city must act as its primary cultural node. All over the world people are engaged with the natural elements of the city and that includes the river. Riverfront developments allow people to feel and experience the development. The Yamuna is a 1200 long of which 20 km is in Delhi. But the problem is that is an extended network of sewage, a nullah and has no water. For the riverfront to be successful, the river should be successful too. For any river front development to be successful there ought to be a human and water interface and to make that happen one has to construct riv- erside walkways, cultural/social recreational zones which allow people to come to the river that is a destination. The Zone O as in the new Master Plan has been designed to keep people away from the river and that is not historic or cultural genesis of the city.
The Sabarmati model is not necessarily the best. There is a tremendous amount of concrete used on the edge and that has a tendency to generate a lot of heat. “There is need to have trees and shade. The success of this model is yet to be established as this is still work in progress,” he adds. and improve natural habitats to support wildlife, preserve and enhance the flood control features and foster a growth in community awareness of and pride in the Los Angeles River.
In the year 1990, the Save our River Seine ( SOS ) Plan was initiated in the city of Paris in France. The goals of this plan were to preserve, protect and enhance the natural environment and heritage resource, restore and repair features of the environment that have been degraded, improve water level, flow and quality, to raise the public’s awareness of all aspects, improve the environmental behaviour of private industry, governments and the general public and improve appropriate public access along the Seine River.
In South Korea, Seoul, a US$384 million recovery project of the stream called Cheonggyecheon was undertaken.
The + POOL project is aimed at creating a plus-shaped swimming area in the Hudson River. The project is an antidote to the polluted and inaccessible rivers of New York in that it creates a swim-friendly floating pool clean enough for everybody to swim in.
The River Fez project in Morocco is aimed at working to revitalise the river Fez in the heart of the city’s medina and UNESCO heritage site. City authorities neglected the river for many decades, leaving it to become an unaccessible and forgotten contaminated sewer. Experts worked with the city’s water department to uncover the northern part of the river by removing the concrete slabs and restoring its banks to provide a breathing space in the centre of this historical city.
The traditional model of riverfront development and by far the most successful are the ghats. They allow people to come up and interact with the river such as in Varanasi