Delhi High Court orders removal of encroachments on Yamuna river bank

The direction of the High Court came in response to a petition filed by one Shabnam Burney highlighting unauthorised constructions on the Yamuna River Bank around the Shaheen Bagh area.

Published - July 11, 2024 01:33 pm IST - New Delhi

This file photo shows shanties on an encroached space on the Yamuna river near Old fort in New Delh. File photo

This file photo shows shanties on an encroached space on the Yamuna river near Old fort in New Delh. File photo | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Delhi High Court has ordered the Vice Chairman, Delhi Development Authority (DDA), to remove all encroachments and illegal construction on the Yamuna river bank, river bed and drains flowing into river Yamuna.

Also read: NGT takes cognisance of The Hindu report on Yamuna floodplains

The direction of the High Court came in response to a petition filed by one Shabnam Burney highlighting unauthorized constructions on the Yamuna River Bank around the Shaheen Bagh area.

Though the petition was confined to Shaheen Bagh area, the High Court was recommendation by the Delhi government to pass directions for removal of illegal constructions and encroachments in the entire Yamuna river bank, river bed, drains and floodplains area.

The High Court, in its order passed on July 8, also appointed the DDA’s Vice Chairman as the Nodal Officer who will coordinate with officials of Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), Delhi Police, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, Irrigation and Flood Control Department, Public Works Department, Delhi Pollution Control Board and Forest Department.

It directed the Vice Chairman, DDA to convene a meeting of all the concerned officials within a week.

In the petition, Ms. Burney stated that the illegal construction has been going on without any permission or regard for the environmental concern. The plea stated that the illegal construction will endanger the ecologically fragile Yamuna floodplains.

The plea said the illegal and unauthorised construction is causing air pollution in the area and is further leading to respiratory problems due to presence of huge dust particles. It stated that building or dwelling house or any other construction in the floodplains endangers the lives of people living in or using the same during the monsoon season.

The plea also sought a direction to the authorities to take steps to prevent illegal construction on Yamuna river bank and floodplains in the near future.

The counsel for the local authorities admitted that the floodplain area is a prohibited activity zone and an important component of a river ecosystem. They further admit that encroachment in this area leads to diversion of water leading to floods in adjacent areas.

They pointed out that many experts believe that floods in Delhi are man-made as they have been caused primarily due to encroachment of drains, river banks and river beds, thereby restricting the flow of water to Yamuna and in Yamuna.

The High Court directed the Vice Chairman, DDA to file an Action Taken Report within six weeks and listed the case for hearing on September 9.

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