Metro flats on riverbed: DDA, DMRC differ on land use
The housing project of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on the Yamuna riverbed near Akshardham Temple has run into trouble. Though DMRC claims that change in land use was never required, Delhi Development Authority (DDA) officials told TOI that any housing project coming up on the riverbed needs change in land use and clearance from the agency. Then why no questions were raised by it remains a mystery.
The project’s former architect, Kuldip Singh, says the agency got conceptual plan approval from the Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC) in 2008. Singh said the housing complex, comprising 90 flats, was part of the original plan from the beginning. ”Though I am no longer associated with the project, I had drawn up the conceptual plan for approval from the DUAC and submitted the same in December 2007. It was a detailed plan, with area statements, use statements, elevations used etc.
A model along with photo of the site had been given to the DUAC,” said Singh. Interestingly, though, Singh adds that he had advised DMRC about the need for change in land use. DUAC had carried out an inspection of the illegal constructions on the riverbed on Wednesday. According to DMRC, the staff quarters coming up on 39 hectares of land at the Yamuna Bank depot have got all the required clearances from the authorities. ”Land use change was not required as the staff quarters are being constructed on the land allotted to DMRC by the DDA and UP irrigation department for operations-related work. The staff quarters are being constructed for the essential staff involved in operations related work like maintenance of rolling stock, electrical and mechanical works at the Yamuna depot.
Similar flats exist at all the other Delhi Metro depots in the city,” said a DMRC spokesperson. Manoj Mishra of Yamuna Jiye Andolan refuses to accept this. According to Mishra, both the housing project as well as the Millennium DTC depot, are flouting environmental norms. “According to the Master Plan 2021 (MPD), no new construction on the riverbed is allowed. While the Metro depot and the yard are part of the MPD, the housing project didn’t have clearances and there was no change of land use. We had written to the lieutenant governor two weeks ago about the need to restrict constructions on the riverbed… both cases are classic examples of the state encroaching on the Yamuna riverbed,” said Mishra. Under the MPD, the Yamuna riverbed is earmarked for green development, with only specific plots like the Akshardham Temple, Commonwealth Games Village, the Metro station and yard/depot and the Indraprastha power plant being given different land uses. Sources in DDA admitted that the re-development of the riverbed under the aegis of the Yamuna River Development Authority is being supervised by the LG, after the notification of zone ‘O’, the riverbed.