World culture festival pandal on floodplains: It’s an ecological disaster, says Delhi HC

'How was this huge pandal allowed?' asked the bench of Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, observing that it would be an “ecological disaster” as the floodplain area was being damaged.

Written by Aneesha Mathur | New Delhi | Updated: March 10, 2016 6:32:12 am
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Pulling up Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for allowing large-scale unauthorised construction to come up on the Yamuna floodplains, the Delhi High Court Wednesday mentioned the construction done for the coming Art of Living Foundation event as an example of lapse.

“How was this huge pandal allowed?” asked the bench of Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, observing that it would be an “ecological disaster” as the floodplain area was being damaged.

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The bench observed media reports had stated trees and vegetation in the floodplain zone had been cut down, adding that “any rains” could lead to flooding as there would be no space for the water to percolate into the soil. The court, however, did not take up the issue, after noting that the case was pending before the National Green Tribunal.

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The comment was made during the hearing of a PIL on the issue of unauthorised colonies at Jaitpur and Mithapur on the Yamuna floodplain. The bench asked the DDA to explain how the colonies, which have a population of almost 2.5 lakh people, were allowed to come up in the area. The two areas lie on the Yamuna floodplain near Badarpur.

The court also observed that any earthquake or floods in the city would create a “disaster” if such construction remained unchecked. “These colonies will be the main sufferers,” said the court. According to the DDA, 20 unauthorised colonies, with over 56,000 dwelling units have come up on the Yamuna floodplain at Jaitpur and Mithapur in the last 15 years.

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The court asked the DDA to stop further construction on the floodplain, observing that demolition of the unauthorised areas “will not solve the problem” but “create a serious housing problem”.

Appearing on behalf of the DDA, Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain informed the court that a special task force had been constituted to look into the Jaitpur issue. The court also asked the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi to “come out with a concrete proposal” to deal with such colonies.

The court further asked authorities to look into “builder mafia” responsible for such construction and who were “duping people” into buying the unauthorised houses.

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