With the Yamuna at risk of encroachments despite several court orders, environmentalists now fear that the last green patch of the flood plain on the west bank of the river may be subject to illegal use.
Retired IFS officer and convenor of the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan, Manoj Misra, has written to Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal calling for timely interference to save the green patch at a point when most of the floodplain has already been brought under construction.
Mr. Misra had written to the two authorities earlier as well about the illegal activities being carried out on the Yamuna floodplains. It was on the basis of his petition that the National Green Tribunal banned several activities, including fresh construction on the floodplains.
After the NGT orders, he has written at least five letters highlighting various incidents of encroachment, which seem to be continuing despite the DDA claiming that it has constituted task forces and installed CCTVs to keep a check.
In his recent letter, which was also marked to the DDA vice-chairman, Mr. Misra has highlighted a narrow but “extremely critical” patch of flood plain between the Ring Road and the river channel on the west bank. The patch is located south of the unauthorized Tibetan colony of Majnu Ka Tila and north of the Yamuna bazar around Nigam Bodh Ghat.
He claimed that in the recent past, fresh hutments had been seen in the wooded area just south of the Majnu Ka Tila Gurudwara. This, he said, was a violation of NGT orders.
The activist also expressed concern about the hutments soon becoming permanent structures. The said patch is also reportedly used as parking space for trucks and buses.
Mr. Misra has now requested that the DDA be directed to visit the site and take steps to remove what has been recently built and to prevent a repeat. He suggested that the area be used for planting local species of trees and it be ensured that no structure is now allowed or regularized in Zone ‘O’under the Master Plan, 2021.
“Please ask DDA and Govt of NCT of Delhi to conduct an impact assessment of the unauthorised colony at Majnu Ka Tila, and other structures raised on the river bank there, and to plan on their relocation to safeguard both the river’s integrity as well as the life and property of people who are living in such flood-prone areas,” the letter says.