Why the fuss over floodplains?
No Central regulator exists to prevent mega events and illegal construction from taking place on Yamuna’s floodplains
The World Culture Festival organised by the Sri Sri Ravi S h a n k a r ’ s Ar t o f Living Foundation (AOL) was recently in the news because of the alleged damage caused to Delhi’s Yamuna floodplains. The event, for which a seven-acre stage had been erected to accommodate 8,500 artists and about three lakh visitors, had also been criticised by the National Green Tribunal, which claimed the floodplains would be adversely impacted.
What seemed to have worked in the organiser’s favour, however, was the apparent ‘ambiguity’ in Delhi Master Plan 2021 where zonal development plan sub zone 07 relating to river development leaves scope for ‘recreational purposes’ without clearly specifying which activities are recreational.
Most importantly, no Central regulatory authority exists to check such recreational activities or construction of farmhouses and concrete structures on the floodplains. This is perhaps the reason why the Akshardham Temple was built on 90 acres of the floodplains, the Commonwealth Games Village on 157 acres, the Millennium Bus Depot on 50 acres, not to mention Barapullah Phase 3 and the Metro projects. It is because of this that large pockets of the Yamuna riverbed along Noida and Greater Noida, between sectors 151, 152, 153, 158 and 167, have also been