As if all the dumping of untreated sewage and the upcoming Commonwealth Games wasn’t enough a month long Global Village festival is planned on Yamuna’s floodplains.
Following is an article by Bahar Dutt (for CNN-IBN) highlighting the issue.
Global Village has Yamuna gasping
It’s a shocking tale of environment laws flouted for a month-long shopping extravaganza.
An artificial shopping ‘paradise’ called Global Village being built on the banks of River Yamuna may have permanently damaged the floodplains of the river and could now affect the water supply into Delhi.
“This Global Village is going to be the end of this river,” says Convenor of Yamuna Jiya Abhiyan, Manoj Misra.
Inspired by the Dubai Shopping Festival, experts like Misra opine the month-long Global Village – that spreads across 20 acres – could have sounded the deathknell for the already-dying river.
Satellite images available with CNN-IBN clearly show the damage to the Yamuna floodplains. “These floodplains act as a sponge and recharge the ground water,” says Misra.
It’s ironic that the riverbed was recently cleared of slums rendering thousands homeless. But for the Global Village owners, permissions were not even necessary.
“We are going to have belly dancers, it’s a month long festival, public is going to have a lot of fun. There will be a spectacular display of fireworks and a carnival every night where you’ll find Brazilian Samba, Russian, Ballet troupe and Egyptian belly dancers shaking a leg with Bhangra and Dandiya dancers,” says the owner of Global Village, Sunil Bhatia.
The law prohibits encroachments within 300 metres of the Yamuna.
But the Global Village is located on the river bank, a ‘Critically Polluted Area’ as notified by the Central Pollution Control Board. It’s also less than one km from the Okhla Bird Sanctuary, making environment clearances mandatory.
The Yamuna riverbed is also crucial in recharging Delhi’s ground water supply, saving Rs six crore annually for Delhi government.
So who is to blame – the Delhi government or the Noida Tollbridge Private Limited who are the partners in the venture?
In addition to the environmental violations, the setup also comes in direct contravention of a Delhi High Court order.
It’s to be seen as to who survives the environment versus commercialism battle.