Vrindavan, 2017.02.15 (VT): Environmental activists of Braj are rejoicing over a new law against any construction on flood plains of the Ganga and its tributaries.
The notification issued by the Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation banning construction of any structure, whether permanent or temporary for residential, commercial, industrial or any other purposes in the floodplains of Ganga or its tributaries has given a big boost to the legal battles of the Yamuna activists of Braj – Vrindavan.
Yamuna activists from Vrindavan have been fighting a legal battle against the unbridled construction on the Yamuna floodplain in Vrindavan. This notification will make their case stronger against the Riverfront Development and Beautification Project which has so far been stayed by the National Green Tribunal and the Allahabad High Court.
The majority of the ghats, where Yamuna once touched the land of Vrindavan, have been buried under construction rubble and debris. The Riverfront Development Project proposed to lay sewage pipes on the Yamuna riverbed and build new ghats beyond the ancient ghats, changing the course of the river.
Several groups have objected to the project and raised their voices for the protection of the ghats and bringing Yamuna back to these ghats.
The Ministry of Water Resources issued a notification on October 7, 2016 which provides for protection of the flood plain, its demarcation, repair thereof and activities which can be carried out in the flood plain.
In cases where construction has been completed before the issuance of the notification, the “National Mission for Clean Ganga shall review such constructions to examine whether they caused interruption in the continuous flow of water or polluted the river or its tributaries, and if that be so, it shall cause for removing them.”
The notification further states, “No person shall construct any structure, whether permanent or temporary for residential or commercial or industrial or any other purposes in the Ganga or floodplains of its tributaries.”
Talking to VT, Mahant Madhu Mangal Sharan Das, a petitioner in the Allahabad High court said, “Although there were several directions given by the National Green Tribunal, High Courts and the Supreme Court against the construction on the flood plains, there was no law that prohibited these constructions. The new notification will sharpen our fight against concretizing the Yamuna flood plain in Vrindavan.”