Vrindavan/New Delhi, 2016.12.20 (VT): The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday maintained its stay order on all construction activity in the Yamuna riverbed in Vrindavan, till the next hearing on February 6th. The Tribunal also directed all respondents to file their replies by the next hearing date. Only the UP government has filed its reply in the matter.
The NGT has issued notices to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, the Union Ministry of Water Resources, several UP government agencies and the Archeological Survey of India on a petition alleging illegal construction on the Yamuna riverbed by the UP Irrigation Department in the name of riverfront development.
The Green Court had already imposed a stay on the Yamuna Riverbed project on November 30th. Petitioner Akash Vashishth, the coordinator of the Alliance for Culture and Ecology, in his plea said that the government agencies, instead of complying with the previous orders of the tribunal which sought the demolition of illegal structures inside the river floodplain, had gone ahead and brazenly started construction in violation of all norms. The execution of the project has forced the Yamuna river to change her course and permanently leave behind her beloved heritage ghats.
It should be noted that a separate litigation is also pending in the Allahabad High Court, which will hear the case on March 27th, 2017. The High Court has also maintained its interim order of banning the laying of a sewage pipeline in the riverbed. Shri Madhumangal Shukla, the petitioner in the Allahabad High Court case, has highlighted that Vrindavan’s riverside architecture, in form of the ancient ghats, is some of the best in the country. There is no sense in building new ghats in front of the existing ancient ghats.