Staff Reporter

CM asked to reconsider decision on Games Village venue

The floodplain has potential to recharge ground water

‘Floodplains have been shown in the revenue records as water bodies’

NEW DELHI: Citing the example of Australia, where temporary structures were erected in Sydney for the Olympic Games in 2000, a group of concerned citizens has called upon Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit to reconsider the decision to construct the Commonwealth Games Village on the floodplains of the Yamuna.

At a meeting with the Chief Minister over the weekend, the group drew attention to the ground water recharging potential of the area and sought its protection against commercial activities.

“We had a meeting with Ms. Dikshit on Friday and expressed our concern about the destruction of the floodplains by construction activities. The floodplain has potential to recharge ground water. One can extract 200 million gallons a day (MGD) of water from it for six months in a year and this gets replenished during monsoons," said Vinod Jain, founder-chairman of Tapas, a non-government organisation.

The group comprising former cricketer Bishan Singh Bedi, former chief of the Central Ground Water Board S.B. Singh and noted orthopaedic surgeon K.K. Rattan has sought abolition of the plans that propose structures in the DDA zonal plan of Delhi Master Plan-2021 on the floodplains.

“The economic value of the 200 MGD of water that lasts up to six months would be about Rs.32,000 crore. Also, the floodplains have been shown in the revenue records as water bodies, so they cannot be sold as land,” Mr. Jain pointed out.

Expressing concern over unabated pollution in the river, the group insisted that the floodplains be protected legally under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, to prevent coming up of projects which are not environment-regenerating.

Mr. Bedi gave the example of Australia, where temporary structures were constructed for the Olympic Games. He said none of those structures can be found there any more, as they were removed after the event got over.

The Chief Minister is learnt to have responded positively and was very concerned about the issue at hand. ``She asked us to give a plan for restoration of the floodplains, which will be discussed in subsequent meetings,” Mr. Jain said.

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