Staff Reporter

Activists charge Delhi Metro Railway with brazen encroachment

NEW DELHI: As thousands of residents of East Delhi eagerly await the metro railway’s journey across the Yamuna in a week from now to connect them to the rest of the Capital, “Save Yamuna” activists have shot off a letter to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) protesting against “concretisation of the river’s floodplains.”

The brand-new Yamuna Bank metro rail complex that has come up across the grand old river and rests on its floodplains has triggered the ire of ‘Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan’ activists who have been fighting for a long time now to keep the floodplains free from construction activities.

In their letter to DMRC Managing Director E. Sreedharan, they have pointed to the Corporation’s earlier stand of not carrying out construction activities that will “inconvenience or endanger public life or lead to ecological or environmental degradation.”

The letter accuses DMRC of having “…..brazenly encroached upon vast areas of notified riverbed/floodplain on the Yamuna’s eastern bank firstly in the name of the Shastri Park metro complex and commercial development over 12 hectares and now the Yamuna Bank metro complex over 50 hectares.”

Complaining that the new Yamuna Bank depot is located within 300 metres of the river in violation of the Delhi High Court orders, the Yamuna activists have written that while on the one hand all slum clusters were removed from the riverbed in keeping with this order, the DMRC now has been allowed to construct on the floodplains.

“Strange irony”

“It is a strange irony that while on one hand the Japan Bank for International Cooperation has given a loan to the Indian government to clean the river under the Yamuna Action Plan, you are taking a loan from the same Japan Bank to pollute the river through construction of a depot and other commercial facilities in the riverbed of the same Yamuna,” states the letter.

“Black Day”

The Yamuna activists have decided to observe the opening day of the Yamuna Bank station as “Black Day” in protest against “DMRC’s continuing encroachment on the Yamuna’s floodplain in the form of the Yamuna metro complex.”

A rally will be organised starting from Satyagrah Sthal and culminating at the Yamuna Bank metro station, where a memorandum from local farmers and Yamuna activists addressed to Dr. Sreedharan will be handed over.