Letter to President, PM, to save Yamuna

Concerned over another ‘encroachment’ at the Yamuna bed, public intellectuals and social activists raise an alarm about a to-be event of the Art of Living foundation

GN Bureau | February 17, 2016


Construction work in progress at the Yamuna bed
Construction work in progress at the Yamuna bed

A group of public intellectuals and social activists have written a letter to the president, the prime minister and concerned government representatives urging them to stop encroachment and destruction of Yamuna floodplains. Their concern has stemmed from the announcement of an event, scheduled on March 16, to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the 'Art of Living' foundation, a private organisation formed by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

The intellectuals and activists have said that construction work which has already started at the Yamuna bed is destabilising and destructing the ecosystem of the river. The floodplains are getting encroached and damaged largely, which used to play a crucial role in maintaining biodiversity and health of the river, they add.

Addressing the letter to the president and the prime minister who apparently have plans to attend the event, the group says that their participation might appear to lend legitimacy to an illegal activity. They support their argument by writing, “the event is being planned after clearing, compacting, dumping of earth and construction underway over some 1,000 acres of the active flood plain of river Yamuna in Delhi, and the matter being sub-judice at the National Green Tribunal … as prima facie the said preparations are in violation of the NGT judgment of 13 January, 2015 …”

To further back their argument, the group has attached a pictorial report highlighting through comparative photos of September 15, 2015 and February 5, 2016, on how “a verdant flood plain has got systematically destroyed and is being converted for the event.” This additional encroachment, the group said, will only make the situation worse. In the past, construction activities for the commonwealth games, millennium bus depot, Akshardham temple and others have been in controversies for alleged encroachment of the Yamuna plains.

The letter adds that according to India’s current national water policy, “Conservation of rivers, river corridors, water bodies and infrastructure should be undertaken in a scientifically planned manner through community participation… Environmental needs of Himalayan regions, aquatic eco-system, wet lands and embanked flood plains need to be recognized and taken into consideration while planning.” The group contends that in the current case, national water policy stands violated.
    
September 15, 2015                                                                                     February 5, 2016

The group feels that even though the event would run for a few days, the devastation resulting from its preparatory and operational phase (some 35 lakh persons are expected to participate with a stage planned to be constructed over some seven acres of land) would outlast decades in terms of river Yamuna's health, which already is in no great shape.

People who have written the letter:
1. EAS Sarma, former secretary
2. Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan
3. Madhu Bhaduri, former ambassador of India
4. Paritosh Tyagi, chairman & managing trustee, IDC Foundation
5. Bharat Jhunjhunwala, former professor, IIM-B
6. Dr Latha Anantha, River Research Centre
7. Samir Mehta, River Basin Friends
8. Dr Sudhirendar Sharma, Ecological Foundation
9. Vimal Bhai, Matu Jan Sangathan
10. Malika Virdi, Himal Prakriti
11. Emmanuel Theophilus, Himal Prakriti
12. Ramnarayan. K, Himal Prakriti
13. Parineeta Dandekar, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People
14. Himanshu Thakkar, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People
 

Comments

 

Other News

Two die in a fire incident at ICOL’s Naphtha cracker unit

Two people were killed in the fire that broke out at the Polyethylene Swing Unit of Panipat Naphtha Cracker Complex on January 22. As a precautionary measure, the swing unit is temporarily under shutdown. Indian Oil Corporation said that five persons working in the nearby area came in

Nurturing the girl child

India is the most dangerous place in the world to be born as a baby girl. It has the dubious distinction of having 75% more chances of girl children aged between 1-5 years dying as compared to boy children. India is among the fastest growing economies in the world, with a contradicting child sex ratio worl

HUDCO organises 37th international training programme

The trainees of 37th International Training Programme on ‘Planning and Management of Urban Services’, organised by HUDCO’s Human Settlement Management Institute, interacted with HUDCO’s CMD, M Ravi Kanth. The training programme started on January 15 and would end on March 9.

Modi at Davos: On how to realise the dream of a beautiful shared future

Prime minister Narendra Modi underlined the need for a consensus among the nation to realise the dream of a beautiful shared future, as he addressed the plenary session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on Tuesday. After introductory remarks by the Forum`s founder and executive chai

RECTPCL hands over SPV to Power Grid Corp

REC Transmission Projects Company Ltd (RECTPCL), a subsidiary of Rural Electrification Corporation Ltd (REC), has handed over project specific special purpose vehicle (SPV) namely ERSS XXI Transmission Ltd to Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL). Competing alongside with the private p

BEML launches new wheel loader

Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML), a ministry of defence PSU, has launched a 5.4 ton wheel loader BL30-1 at Excon Exhibition 2017 in Bangalore. The high performance and rugged wheel loader is designed and developed by BEML. BL30-1 Frontend Wheel Loader is designed for maximum

Current Issue

Current Issue

Video

CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter