At a time when government agencies, on the directives of the National Green Tribunal, are devising ways to clean the Yamuna river, the Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC), in a unique initiative, has come up with a proposal which seeks to utilise the riverfront for creating open public spaces and areas to promote recreational activities. The proposal has been submitted to the Ministry of Urban Development for implementation.
According to DUAC officials, the study has provided for a weekly haat, a parking space, a bird watch trail, a plaza, exhibition centre and cafes, which will generate more access for the public and create open spaces by the river side.
“The abysmal state of drainage and solid waste management in the city has caused the river to become a huge drain, carrying nothing but the city’s waste. With high density in residential areas, it has to be realised that Delhi is in dire need of a large public open space. Considering that the river flows through the heart of the city, it has huge potential for open spaces, for people to relax and spend a day by the river. Additionally, there are so many memorials, stadiums and places of religious and historical importance that can easily be connected to the riverfront,” a senior DUAC official said.
The study has included the presence of monuments in the vicinity, including Purana Qila, the Red Fort, Ferozshah Kotla Stadium and the India Gate. It has also included the presence of government institutions like the Delhi Secretariat, the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), the Police Headquarters and the Vikas Minar.
“The waterfront’s potential is underutilised. There is no scope for recreational activities like walking or cycling. The site has the Ring Road running on the west, Indraprastha Marg and the bridge to the north, which have created barriers and limited access,” the official said, adding that it was essential to activate the riverfront by developing visual physical linkages to the site for the public either through vehicles or on foot. The proposal has also suggested the re-use of the IP power plant, which is presently defunct.