Draft MPD 2041 suggests permitting farming on Yamuna floodplains

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New Delhi, Jun 9 (PTI) Proposed Master Plan Delhi 2041 suggests identifying specific locations for permitting agriculture on the floodplains of the Yamuna.

In January 2015, the National Green Tribunal had banned farming on the Yamuna floodplains, saying the vegetables grown there were 'highly contaminated' and their consumption could lead to cancer.

In July 2019, a two-member panel appointed by the NGT to monitor pollution in the river recommended that farmers may be allowed to grow crops and vegetables but with regular and constant watch on metal content and pesticides levels in the harvested produce.

The Delhi Development Authority on Wednesday put the draft MPD 2041 on its website and invited public suggestions and objections.

It suggests a special initiative for the rejuvenation of Yamuna, including creating 'greenways' along the embankments of the river for public access with provision of cycling and walking trails.

'Socio-cultural activities should be permitted only in specifically earmarked locations. Specific locations may be identified for permitting agriculture in the floodplains. Any adverse impact of these activities on the river should be minimized by proper regulation of disposal of pooja material, immersion of idols, use of fertilizers, garbage disposal, etc. Only restricted construction should be permitted in public areas such as ghats,' the document reads.

It says the 'Comprehensive River Development Plan', a multi-agency initiative anchored by the DDA, will guide protection of the floodplain with only restricted development.

'A 300-meter-wide green buffer where ever feasible should be maintained along the entire edge of the river. Wild grassing or other suitable ground-cover vegetation should be planted for 25-30 meters from the river edge and trees may be planted beyond this grass belt,' it says.

River-people connect should be encouraged by developing 75 meters to 100 meters wide greenways along the embankments for public access with provision of cycling and walking trails and other spaces for passive activities near the river. No permanent construction shall be permitted in the floodplain,' it reads.

Regular monitoring should be ensured by manual and CCTV surveillance to check illegal construction, dumping of sewage or debris in the floodplain and river. No untreated sewage and waste water outfall should be permitted in the river, the draft says.

'Ecosystem restoration should be carried out by de-silting of the existing wetlands and restoring them for catchment of floodwater and creating new wetlands by developing and deepening the existing depressions into storage basins,' it adds. PTI GVS AAR AAR

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