Games village on Yamuna banks okayed

A bench consisting of Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam said: “The expert committee constituted by the government has conducted a survey on the environmental impact and cleared the project.”

The apex court set aside a Delhi High Court order that had put the restrictions in place because of environmental worries by environmentalists and social activists due to large scale construction on the river bank.

The government had submitted that the country runs the risk of missing the deadline to host the games by October 2010, if restrictions were to be placed on construction activities.

The experts from Ministry of Environment and Forests and National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Nagpur, had conducted a survey on the environmental impact the construction of the games site may cause to the riverbank, the court said quoting the government report. 

Moreover, the famed Akshardham temple and the metro rail station are already on the banks of the river, the judgment pointed out as a means of justifying construction of the facilities for the game.

The Delhi High Court in the order on November 3, 2008, had formed a five-member committee, headed by Rajendra Pachauri, head of a Nobel Prize-winning United Nations panel of climate-change scientists, to oversee the construction activities at the riverside site of the games village and submit a report on the environmental impact in three months.

The Delhi Development Authority, the local government agency responsible for the project, had challenged the high court ruling.

The petitioners had sought curbs on construction on the riverbed, which they argued was a flood catchment area. They also said the construction would disturb the ecological balance, hampering groundwater recharge and environmental regeneration.

DH News Service

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