NEW DELHI, 2011.09.28 (Times of India): Another proposal to usurp a substantial part of the Yamuna floodplain has raised the hackles of environmentalists. An RTI query has revealed Noida Authority’s plans of building an embankment on the left bank of the Yamuna, stretching from NH-24 to the Chilla Regulator. While the proposal to the Yamuna Standing Committee claimed it is a flood control measure, senior officials of the authority accept that it is only a bid to reclaim land.
Interestingly, the authority has not even decided what to do with the over 15-lakh sqm land that it will gain through this. “It will take about three years for the embankment to come up and only then will we decide how to use the land. Flood control measures are not required as the Noida link road serves that purpose. The project is under consideration,” said a senior official. He was unable to explain why the authority is eyeing the land even though it has no use for it at present.
The proposal was mooted by the UP government in August 2008 and sent to the Yamuna Standing Committee in 2009. The committee cleared it conditionally, asking the government to ensure that all required environmental clearances were obtained before work started. The authority has already marked the area on ground using poles and barbed wire.
“It was by sheer chance that we learnt about the project. We first managed to access the minutes of the YSC meetings through RTI and then applied once more to get details of the project. The LG has been apprised of the situation and we hope some action will be taken,” said Manoj Mishra of the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan.
The project report states that the length of the embankment would be about 4km, stretching from 280m at NH-24 to 660m at the Chilla Regulator in width. The embankment will be 6m high with a 6m width on top and about 40m wide base.
“The project is worth Rs 92.1 crore. The area under consideration is the only relatively secure floodplain we have in Delhi and it is highly important for groundwater regeneration. In the 2010 floods, there was 3-4m water in the area. The right side of the river has already been concretized under Commonwealth Games Village and the Akshardham Temple. This will be the death of the river,” added Mishra.