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NGT ultimatum for UP govt, DDA on structures on river banks

PTI | Last Updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - 19:39

New Delhi: Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and Uttar Pradesh government were Wednesday given a "last opportunity" by National Green Tribunal (NGT) to place before it their policies regarding the floodplains of the Yamuna and Hindon rivers.

Giving DDA and UP government three weeks` time in which to make their submissions, NGT also questioned the exceptions made by them in allowing some structures to come up at river fronts.

"We direct... The state of UP and DDA to file a report showing what their policy is on the floodplain area," said a bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar.

The bench also directed DDA and UP government to apprise it about "whether they have declared floodplain areas under their respective jurisdictions and, if so, the nomenclature given, like `Zone O`, and other details.

"Further, what, if any, is actually permissible on floodplains or river fronts with regard to the law."

"Let the power of carving out exceptions also be placed before us," it said.

NGT also questioned Delhi government and DDA for allowing certain structures like Commonwealth Games village and Akshardham temple to come up at the river front and inquired as to what the policy was for making such exceptions.

"What is so unique about the CWG village that it can come up (on the floodplains) but others can`t. So, it will be your discretion which building will come up and which will not.

"Under what laws do you get the power to permit structures to come up at river fronts. These three weeks are the last opportunity to you failing which the vice-chairman of DDA and the Delhi Chief Secretary should appear before us.

"Please give us a complete affidavit and please be careful," the bench said.

NGT made note of submissions by the Advocate General of UP that the state government had already passed 32 orders whereby it was held that construction at river fronts was unauthorised and directed that the said orders be placed before it.

NGT is hearing a plea by UP-based water conservationist Akash Vashishtha who has alleged that farmhouses, colonies and commercial structures on the river bed caused damage to the environment and were in violation of the Environment Protection Act, 1986.

NGT had on September 24 warned authorities in Delhi, UP
and Haryana that their senior officials would have to appear before it unless they came clear on whether or not any construction was permitted on the floodplains of the Yamuna and the Hindon.

On May 20, NGT had ordered demolition of all illegal and unauthorised structures in the floodplains of the Yamuna and the Hindon in Delhi, UP and Haryana on a plea against the `concretisation` of the banks of the two rivers.

It had also restrained any construction, temporary and permanent, being carried out without the permission of competent authorities in the flood zones of the two rivers.

First Published: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - 19:39

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