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New construction on Yamuna river bed alleged

Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: Non government organisation Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan has complained to Lieutenant Governor Tejendra Khanna against a new construction work that is being carried out near the Akshardham Temple on the Yamuna riverbed. The NGO has been campaigning for the preservation of the river and its flood plains.

The NGO has alleged that despite the L-G's order construction activities are being carried out with impunity on the riverbed, which is a protected area. Convenor of YJA Manoj Misra, who has written to the L-G and the Delhi Development Authority about the work, said: “There is evidence of fresh work going on at a site just next to the Akshardham temple. When we tried to procure information, what we managed to get was that some residential quarters or a facility is being constructed at the site by the Temple authorities.”

Mr. Misra said the L-G's orders have already placed a moratorium on all construction on the riverbed and the latest construction activity will further encroach upon the riverbed. “The site where the new construction activity is taking place has been shown as place for parking in the zonal plan for Zone O. Besides Akshardham Temple already has a sprawling parking bay and there are guests houses in the compound too. So if the temple authorities are constructing anything they have to take permission from the authorities and inform them too,” pointed out Mr. Misra. In the letter to the L-G, the YJA has said: “Akshardham was sold land measuring 12 hectares by the DDA in the year 2000 and the same land was transferred to it in April 2000. Later on Akshardham procured additional land in front of it on lease from the Uttar Pradesh Irrigation Department under a firm commitment that the land use of the said land shall remain ‘green.' The same fact was also submitted to the Supreme Court in the Akshardham case, based on which the petition was dismissed.”

“It is another matter that the Akshardham in blatant violation of commitment submitted to the Supreme Court concretised a significant part of the said land for parking purposes,” the letter reads.

“The land that we are referring to measures 542m X 214m and is behind the Akshardham and near the Games Village. What we don't understand is how it (the land) came into the possession of Akshardham temple authorities. How are the Akshardham authorities carrying out earth work on it reportedly to raise residential structures or other facilities?” said Mr. Misra.

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