Dr Prodipto Ghosh
Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests, GoI
Paryavaran Bhawan, CGO Complex Lodhi Road
New Delhi – 110003
Sub: Cutivators’ settlements on Yamuna riverbed – riverbed conservation opportunities
Ref: MCD-USAID-NIUA Consultative Workshop on Building Byelaws for Delhi, IHC, 20.04.04, etc
I am encouraged to write to you because of MoEF involvement in World Bank supported study on Environment and Infrastructure imperatives for Delhi 2021 and in the subsequent bye-law reform initiative under reference, in list of key functionaries for which your name and address are mentioned.
At the Workshop under reference, much was said about environmental imperatives and villages, with which is wholly consistent a suggestion made to DDA by myself as a qualified planner as well as a demand made to it by citizens in three old settlements of riverbed cultivators – viz, to restore Yamuna riverbed to urban agriculture (with village-based settlement development, heritage and eco-tourism interventions) after clearance of all encroachments.
This suggestion/demand is within the ambit of s.10 and s.11A of Delhi Development Act that entitle citizens and experts to scrutinize and comment on development decisions about Delhi and is, in any case, an imperative of the Act in terms of Master Plan land use provisions. It also appears to me wholly consistent with CGWA notification of ridge and riverbed under EPA as well as with Tourism Ministry’s proposal to promote village tourism in Delhi.
I have confirmed feasibility, beyond legitimacy and suitability, of this suggestion with (besides concerned communities, an NGO working with them, scholars conversant with the history of the area, urban designers who have studied it, and a private firm practicing community partnered eco-tourism), scientists with expertise in ground water and village-based technology development and former World Bank consultant with expertise on appraisal of R&R options, including in riverine projects. I am also enclosing, for your information, letters that I am writing in this regard to Secretary Urban Development and Secretary Tourism.
I request of you the following information:
- MoEF proposals / clearances for riverbed protection / development (other than re river pollution)
- if / how these proposals can incorporate the legitimate demand of cultivator communities
- if / how they can incorporate suggestions of those with specifically relevant expertise / experience
- (if detailed suggestion / proposal is required), details of formal procedure for submitting the same
(since those I have discussed this with are prepared to collaborate with concerned communities on such an initiative within the ambit of a holistically considered state proposal for the riverbed).
I take this opportunity to extend Earth Day greetings and I do look forward to hearing from you.
Gita Dewan Verma / Planner
- Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development
- Secretary, Ministry of Tourism and Culure
Encl, as above