Why the fuss over flood­plains?

No Cen­tral reg­u­la­tor ex­ists to pre­vent mega events and il­le­gal con­struc­tion from tak­ing place on Ya­muna’s flood­plains

HT Estates - - FRONT PAGE - Van­dana Ram­nani

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

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