The advent of Commonwealth Games in India in 2010 instils fear in me. Yes, fear more than the pride. For more than a year now, I have been reading about Delhi Government’s mega plans for Commonwealth village. Of course, government’s decision for Commonwealth village is commercially driven. This article will tell you how much Commonwealth Games Village would be worth. The construction of Commonwealth Games village started in August this year amidst protests from various quarters.
In a capital city, where we always face a power and water crisis, building new luxurious villages is nothing out of norm. The thing that Government got wrong this time is that it plans to build its Commonwealth Games village on Yamuna floodplains. If Yamuna floodplains are stifled with permament structures, Delhi will be prone to floods in the monsoon. Because Yamuna will not be able to manage excess water without the spacious floodplains. National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) report clearly states this fact. Yamuna has always been flood-prone. Just this year in September, low-lying areas of Yamuna have been evacuated.
We still haven’t really recovered from catastrophic Bihar floods, yet we already have plans to jeopardise ecological balance in National Capital.
Farmers have been protesting furiously against it. But government has put cotton balls in ears. Various groups and NGOs like farmer’s group, Yamuna Andolan Samiti, Yamuna Jiya Abhiyan as well as a NGO, Yamuna Bachao Andolan have been vociferously campaigning to save Yamuna.
Apart from the fact that permanent structures can not be built on the river banks, Yamuna riverbed is also centre of seismic activity. We will not only have floods and earthquakes, building structures on riverbed could cause further shortage of drinking water.
You must now be wondering, if this project is so perilous, why is Government going ahead with it? Government is so hell-bent to go forward it has not bothered to get basic approvals. According to this report, both Yamuna Standing Committee and Central Ground Water Authority. This CNN/IBN article lists all the documentary proof to prove that Government has no approval to go ahead with the project.
Chief Minister Sheila Dixit, despite all anomalies, has audacity to say this, “Show me another city in the world, which has not developed its riverbanks. Development has to take place.” My vote certainly does not go to her this time.
Current status: This month High Court has issued a new order. Although it refused to stay the construction of Commonwealth Games Vilalge, it established a four-member committee to review the project. The Committee is supposed to submit its report within three months of its constitution. All construction under Commonwealth Games Village project will be subject to review by Committee. But it has no assurance for me or any other citizen. Atypical all Indian committees set up by judiciary, I expect the report to be delayed. Chances are Commonwealth Games Village would have already done the damage by the time the Committee finalises its report.
Sign this petition to save Yamuna that has been addressed to the Prime Minister. I am surprised only 348 people have signed it. I am surprised that Greenpeace that fought with TATAs to save turtles has not taken up this ecological issue against the Delhi Government.