“#OccupyYamuna”? Before Sri Sri’s extravaganza, it was Akshardham

Faith might move mountains but off late it has been ruining the river

GN Bureau | March 9, 2016


#narendra modi   #akshardham   #delhi   #yamuna   #religion   #culture   #environment   #art of living   #sri sri ravishankar  


Going by the activities over the years in the riverbed and floodplains in Delhi, there seems to be a veritable #OccupyYamuna campaign going on. Sri Sri Ravishankar’s Art of Living (AOL), with its three-day extravaganza from March 11, is only the latest in the list.

 
Before AOL was the “millennium” bus depot of the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), which came up in around the time of the Commonwealth Games of 2010. When the green authorities questioned it, DTC pleaded that it was a temporary structure. It stands there six years later, with no signs of winding up anytime soon. 
 
But the depot had a precedent nearby, in the Commonwealth Games Village – which is not a village but an upscale apartment complex, initially meant for the Games visitors’ stay and now given over to government employees and private buyers. It stands right in the middle of the riverbed.
 
The Games Village, however, could point to another precedent: Delhi Metro’s Yamuna Bank station and the adjoining residential quarters for its staff that came up around 2009.
 
All of them together can point fingers to a monumental precedent: Akshardham, the original religious counterpart of Disneyland, standing gloriously in the riverbed. Apparently, when its construction began in 1999, there was no requirement of the environmental clearance, which became mandatory by the time it was completed in 2004. It has a long history of legal battles. Instead of going through the fine print of legalese, it should suffice to say that if you take a look at it from above, from Google Earth, the magnificent, Guinness-record-making structure stands ‘within’ the floodplains. 
 
[By a curious coincidence, both the Art of Living and the Gujarat-based Bochasanvasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha - the organisation behind the Akshardham - have often proudly boasted of their close ties with the BJP in general and prime minister Narendra Modi in particular.]
 
In short, be it the UPA or the NDA, be it matters of faith or of matters secular, the Yamuna has never been seen by authorities as a living river. It seen as an otherwise wasted land resource available which should be put to good use when the capital faces space crunch. No wonder the capital meets its water requirements from rivers hundreds of kilometres away, while the one river within the city is virtually a drain.
 
It’d a be cliché, even if a spooky one, to say that it remains to be seen where the Yamuna waters will find the way, if the river has what in experts’ language is called once-in-a-century kind of floods, the kind Chennai witnessed last year and other Indian cities have witnessed in recent years.
 
The Delhi government headed by Arvind Kejriwal has announced plans for the beautification of the Yamuna, possibly on the lines of the beautification of the Sabarmati in Ahmedabad. The time for cosmetics might be long past.
 
 

Comments

 

Other News

Yogi in politics, TN industries shift base and, how to end the Maharaja’s misery

Everyone in Yogi Adityanath`s office declares that Yogi’s political career is founded on the work carried out from there, first when he was mahant of the influential temple, and then as an MP. Vijendra Singh, who works at the office, says “It’s because of these letters that Yogiji has n

A fifth of Rs 29 lakh crore are NPAs

Banks have advanced a staggering Rs 29,46,060 crore to the industrial sector, of which Rs 6.93 lakh crore are non-performing assets (NPAs).   Finance minister Arun Jaitley informed

Demonetisation not meant to change cash use by people: Harvard economist

 Here are 10 things that Kenneth Rogoff, Thomas D Cabot professor of public policy, department of economics, Harvard University, and author of `The Curse of Cash`, said about demonetisation at the Delhi Economics Conclave 2017: 1. The core idea for demone

Ashok Malik is press secy to president

As Ram Nath Kovind readies to take charge as president, the government is forming his team, naming three officials.    Ashok Malik, former journalist and commentator known for his pro-right views, will serve as the press secretary to the president. Bharat Lal, Gujarat&rs

To understand Modi saga, look at the Vaghela story

Back in the early 1990s, Shankarsinh Vaghela was (or at least perceived to be) more popular of the two people running the BJP show in Gujarat. Today, the other man is the prime minister, and Vaghela is reduced to a footnote – albeit an important one – in the Narendra Modi saga. &n

‘Not just Muslims, everyone is in fear and awe of Yogi Adityanath’

At 70, Dr Aziz Ahmad, a well-known homeopath and politician now with Congress, still has a busy practice in Abu Bazaar, in old Gorakhpur. During working hours, the lane in which he has a clinic becomes jam-packed with patients and their vehicles. People speak of naming the lane after him.





Video

कश्मीर पर तीसरे पक्ष की मध्यस्थता स्वीकार नहीं - महबूबा

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter