DELHI: In stark contrast to neighbouring Delhi, Noida Authority has decided to go ahead with its Rs 200 crore Yamuna riverfront development project. The project, however, is raising eyebrows of environmentalists who have decided to take the matter to National Green Tribunal (NGT).
Chairman of Noida and Greater Noida authorities, Rama Raman, said the project will not be shelved as it involves developing recreational facilities like parks, Yoga centres, picnic spots and sports centres without disrupting the natural flow of Yamuna. “According to our plan, recreational facilities will be developed on spaces where Yamuna water does not reach even in the rainy season,” said Raman.
Delhi Development Authority (DDA), however, said that it would scrap its ambitious Yamuna riverfront development (YRFD) project so that the river’s floodplains are not disturbed. The DDA reaction follows the recommendation given by an expert panel to the NGT, which says that recreational spots located in active floodplain areas would kill the river and cause floods in the city.
The Noida and Greater Noida authorities’ Rs 200 crore budget, which has been approved, includes developing polo grounds, golf course, children’s park and other sports facilities on Hindon and Yamuna floodplains, Raman said.
“If we do not reclaim the barren land and cover it with dense forest or other recreational facilities, land grabbers will build illegal localities on it,” he said.
Environmentalists said the project is a silent killer to both Yamuna and Hindon.
Officials said the land use of the yet-to-be acquired floodplains will remain strictly for recreational purposes. UP irrigation department is required to issue clearances for the land. “While the authorities should ensure protection of floodplains, they are instead attempting to encroach floodplains. If they tamper with natural flora and fauna, the surrounding areas will face environmental hazards in the long run,” said Gaurav Kumar Bansal, a social activist.