Work on three stretches of the 25-km-long Yamuna Riverfront Development project is complete, said the Delhi Development Authority.
DDA director, Horticulture department, Ashok Kumar said work on developing greenery, water bodies and pathways has been completed on three stretches — Asita East, Asita West, Golden Jubilee — and is nearing completion on the Nizamuddin Bridge-DND Flyway (east) stretch.
“Features like water bodies, natural river and grass, umbrella grass, natural riverines have been added,” he said.
The DDA plans to add features such as walkways, eco-trails, and water bodies on the entire stretch between Wazirabad barrage and Okhla barrage. The deadline for the project is December 2023.
The entire 25-km section has been divided into 10 projects: Old Railway Bridge to ITO barrage (Asita East); Old Railway Bridge to ITO Barrage (Asita West); Nizamuddin Bridge to DND Flyway (western bank); Nizamuddin Bridge to DND Flyway (eastern bank); DND to proposed Kalindi Kunj bypass; ITO barrage to Nizamuddin Bridge; Wazirabad to Old Railway Bridge (east); Wazirabad Bridge to Old Railway Bridge (west); Wazirabad to ISBT Bridge; Geeta Colony Bridge to ITO Barrage.
Asita West is around 90 hectares, while Asita East is spread across 93 hectares and is near the stretch where ITO ends. Golden Jubilee is around 50 hectares and is near Lohe Ka Pul near Geeta colony towards the Outer Ring Road.
The Nizamuddin Bridge to DND Flyway section is 100 hectares, out of which 25 hectares has been developed. It is near Sarai Kale Khan and Barapullah.
The completed sections have been attracting visitors from neighbouring areas, said Kumar, adding that there are also plans to create cycle tracks in some of these areas.
One of the stretches on the Eastern Bank — around 3-km-long from Shastri Park to Wazirabad barrage — was recently inaugurated by Northeast Delhi BJP MP Manoj Tiwari. He said: “The stretch will have a natural water body with a mud mount and benches for people to sit. There will also be selfie points from where people can see the Yamuna… Plans are also afoot for a 10-km walking track.”
According to a senior DDA official, they faced several challenges like removing encroachments and reclaiming the land at several sites. Large parts of the Yamuna riverfront were mostly inaccessible due to poor upkeep while industrial waste and untreated sewage continues to be dumped into the river.
While the Yamuna flows from the northern part of the city through east and southeast into Uttar Pradesh, it can barely be called a river by the time it exits, with hardly any fresh water flowing in it. Officials said for the project to succeed in the long run, a Yamuna cleaning exercise needs to be taken up.
The DDA’s draft Master Plan 2041 lays down a clear boundary of the buffer zone near the river and how to develop it. “A 300-m wide green buffer wherever feasible shall be maintained along the entire edge of the river. Wild grassing or other suitable ground-cover vegetation shall be planted for 25-30 m from the river edge, and trees may be planted beyond this grass belt,” it states.
The Yamuna project came into being after a National Green Tribunal order in 2015. Started in 2017, it was monitored by the NGT-appointed Yamuna Monitoring Committee which submitted its report at the beginning of this year.
At present, it is being monitored by the Lt-Governor.