Give action plan on restoring Yamuna floodplains: NGT to DDA

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal today directed the DDA to submit an action plan with regard to restoring Yamuna floodplains where the Art of Living’s World Cultural Festival was held last year.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to nominate a senior officer and submit the report within a week.

“We direct DDA to nominate a senior officer as a member of a committee which shall constitute chief engineers from the irrigation department of Delhi and UP.

“This committee shall submit an action plan with reference to flood plains of Yamuna where AOL’s event was held last year,” it said.

The tribunal also directed the committee to consult and refer to the findings of the expert panel, appointed by NGT earlier to assess the damage caused to Yamuna floodplains, before submitting the action plan.

Advocate Sanjay Parikh, appearing for petitioner Manoj Mishra, sought urgent directions from the bench seeking restoration of the damaged Yamuna floodplains.

He said that monsoon has already arrived and immediate orders were required for rejuvenation of Yamuna floodplains.

However, advocate Nikhil Sakhardande, appearing for the Art of Living (AOL), opposed the submission and said that no direction was required at this stage because the matter was part heard and hearing in the main case is still going on.

He also said that rains had occurred after the event last year as well, adding that the matter should be heard in detail on the date already scheduled.

The matter is now fixed for hearing on July 28.

Earlier, the AOL foundation, headed by spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, had questioned the findings of an expert committee of the NGT on the damage caused to the Yamuna floodplains after a three-day cultural event organised by it.

It had also raised doubts over the satellite images used by the experts committee headed by Shashi Shekhar, Secretary of the Ministry of Water Resources, to estimate the damage.

Earlier, the NGT had slammed the Delhi Development Authority for casting aspersions on the findings of its expert committee on the damage caused to the Yamuna floodplains due to this cultural event.

The green panel had also questioned the DDA for granting nod to AOL, despite three initial rejections and said the civic body should have exercised proper caution while granting approval to the cultural extravaganza.

Earlier, an expert committee had told the NGT that a whopping Rs 42.02 crore would be required to restore Yamuna floodplains which was ravaged due to the cultural extravaganza.