Letter, Public Notice; Letters wrt report on Games Village, 23.10.04

Secretary MoUD
Nirman Bhawan, New Delhi – 110011

Sub: s.11A Public Notice of 18.09.2004 for Metro IT Park


MPISG Convenors for Villages, Housing, Livelihood and Education and MPISG Planner (myself, in individual capacity) and individuals / groups / organizations synergizing on/with MPISG have responded to the Public Notice under reference.

Today a news item (‘Manmohan, GoM get cracking with the Games’, Daily Pioneer12

) says, “Supreme Court's refusal to grant stay on the construction of the Akshardham temple on the Yamuna river bed cleared all doubts about the location of Games village”.

We are unable to see how the court’s refusal to stay construction on already built Temple (for which Master Plan land use was reportedly changed by due process) can possibly amount to “clearance” for a project on which only basic site work has been done, without due process for change of land use.

We believe that Games Village on riverbed – like IT Park – is “identical illegality” of the type against which there is clear High Court judgment of 16.09.02 (in WP 4978/2002 about Sultangarhi project that was started without mandatory s.11A Public Notice, etc) as well as High Court order of 03.03.03 (about all riverbed encroachments). To the best of our knowledge, these High Court orders have not been quashed in the proceedings in the Akshardham PIL, nor have statutory provisions for Zonal Plan preparation u/s.8-10 and Plan modification by s.11A of DD Act, 1957 been repealed.

Insistence on siting the Games Village on the riverbed (even as there are other suitable sites for it) in name of court marks an unfortunate pick-and-choose propensity about court orders and also an unfortunate contempt of the statutory Public Notice process in general and, in particular, in view of coincident Public Notice of 18.09.04 for IT Park on riverbed, objections and suggestions in response to which, we believe, would largely apply also to the proposal for Games Village on riverbed.

Accordingly, we request that:

(1) responses received to IT Park Public Notice be considered also “doubts” about the proposal for locating the Games Village on riverbed, requiring clearing in spirit of s.11A

(2) disposal of IT Park Public Notice be expedited with utmost urgency and with full transparency so as not to delay decisions for Games Village / mar it with any “controversy”

We hope you will treat our request with seriousness. Thanking you,

Yours sincerely

Gita Dewan Verma, MPISG Planner


  • Commissioner (Planning), DDA, Vikas Minar, N Delhi – 110002 (for favour of addition to responses to Public Notice under reference)
  • Principal Secretary to PM, PMO, South Block, N Delhi - 110011 (for information, wrt to news report referred above)

To support planned development. To oppose unplanned development. To protect our future.

  • 1. Manmohan, GoM get cracking with the Games
    Daily Pioneer, 23.10.2004 (also related report about riverbed, 'Bio-diversity parks to boost Delhi's eco-system'
    Rajesh Kumar / New Delhi

    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will soon convene a meeting of Group of Ministers (GoM) to take stock of preparations for the 2010 Commonwealth Games to be held here. A core committee, comprising representatives of the Union Urban Development Ministry, the Delhi Government and the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), is to be set up by the Government to oversee the implementation of infrastructure relating to the Games.

    "The decks have been cleared for the construction of the Commonwealth Games village on the banks of the Yamuna. The Supreme Court's refusal to grant stay on the construction of the Akshardham temple on the Yamuna river bed cleared all doubts about the location of the Games village," said the sources.

    On the other hand, the Delhi Government's core committee for the 2010 Games, under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary S Reghunathan, met early this week. At the meeting, departments like the DDA, the Delhi Jal Board (DJB), the Airports Authority of India (AAI), the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), the Public Works Department (PWD), the Northern Railway, power companies, and Environment and Transport Departments have been directed to submit a comprehensive action plan and finance needed for developing infrastructure.

    Sources said that the Chief Secretary, who had been to Athens this summer to study the infrastructure of the Olympic Games, has submitted a report to Lieutenant-Governor BL Joshi. The AAI has been asked to upgrade the passengers' and aircraft handling facilities at the international airport. Similarly, the Northern Railway has been asked to submit a report on better infrastructure and connecting service to the city.

    The Transport Department is to come up with a comprehensive plan for a modern transport system, including elevated corridors on ring roads, a high capacity bus service, sky buses, an electric trolley system and state-of-the-art buses. It is learnt that Transport Secretary Rajiv Talwar, who had gone to Columbia to study Bogota's high-capacity buses, apprised the core committee of his experience and submitted a report.

    The Power Department has been asked to submit a report on the need of the city by the 2010 and how it will plan to cater to the demands of the Games and the people. It is learnt that the Power Department has suggested setting up of a new plant just for the Games village.

    The road-owning agencies like the MCD, the NDMC and the PWD have been told to submit a report each on having modern roads, the kind of technology to be used and relaying the arterial roads. The DDA has been asked to expedite allotment of land for setting up five-star hotels and budget hotels.

  • 2. Bio-diversity parks to boost Delhi's eco-system
    Sonia Sarkar/ New Delhi

    The lost eco-system on the flood plains and the wetlands of the Yamuna river basin and the semi-arid biotic communities of the Aravalis will soon be visible again in parts of the Capital. In a joint initiative with the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), the Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Eco-systems (CEMDE) of Delhi University (DU) is developing two bio-diversity parks - one near Wazirabad and the other between Vasant Vihar and Vasant Kunj.

    To be spread over a sprawling 157 acres near Wazirabad, the unique bio-diversity park is aimed at recreating the native species of the Yamuna river basin. At present the park comprises varieties of plant communities including hard wickia, mixed deciduous, sub-tropical deciduous, mixed semi-evergreen, sal and teak forests. This also includes the fruit orchards including 500 types of fruit yielding trees and two wetlands harbouring at least 20 species of fish.

    This would be extended to 330 acres more in an adjoining area of the park in the next few years.

    "Our target is to create 30 native plant communities and other biotic communities and we also want to bring all the birds, who once migrated to the Yamuna river basin, back," said Dr A Joshi, one of the two scientists who is working with the CEMDE on the project costing Rs 18 crore.

    The migratory birds like sand pipers, wagtails, swallows, dapchicks and coots are frequently visible on the wetlands. And interestingly, both the wetlands have been artificially created to provide habitat for different kinds of birds.

    "One of the two wetlands covering 1.8 km is shallow and marshy with lots of grasslands surrounding it, which acts as a shelter for some birds. While the other covering two and a half hectares is a deep and open which would provide habitat for birds, who need space to land and take off," said Mr V Gagote, who too is associated with CEMDE in the project.

    It was through the natural mechanism, the unwanted salts were recycled through succession and the barren land was transformed into a productive one.

    "It was very difficult to grow any kind of vegetation owing to the alkaline soil and even the water level at the wetland dipped low as the water was saline," said Dr Joshi. "Therefore, we used two different types of grass called 'viteveria' and 'captochloa' as the remedial measure to change the pitch of the soil and make it feasible for other plants to grow," he said.

    This park will also have a special centre called 'Nature Interpretation Centre', which would act as a guide to the bio-diversity park.

    The park replicating the bio-communities of the Aravali range at a sprawling 700 acres at Vasant Kunj, however is yet to be developed but likely to be opened to the public in a year's time.

    "The mission of the parks is to serve as a repository and heritage of the biodiversity of both the Yamuna river and Aravali with ecological, cultural and educational benefits to the urban society," said Professor C R Babu, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Delhi University.