SC to take a second look at DTC depot near Yamuna

Sounding fresh warning bells for the Delhi government, the Supreme Court has decided to take a "second look" and examine if the DTC bus depot opposite Millennium Park could continue, amid the claims of threat to Yamuna due to its construction on the river flood plain.

A bench led by Justice H L Dattu issued notices to the government, Delhi Transport Corporation, Delhi Development Authority and others on a special leave petition filed against the Delhi High Court judgment in September last year.

"We would want to take a second look at the matter. We deem it right. Let notices be issued," the bench said, while admitting the petition by environmentalist Anand Arya.

The Delhi High Court had last year disposed of two PILs, including one by Arya, against the bus depot near the Nizamuddin Bridge. It gave six months to the government for changing the land-use after amending the Master Plan. The High Court said relocation of depot will happen only if the government fails to amend the Master Plan. It said concerns of threat to environment can be addressed at the time of change in Master Plan, as the amendment would require issuing a notice to the public and inviting objections.

Arya then moved in appeal before the apex court. Appearing for him, senior advocate Jayant Bhushan contended that the High Court order amounted to permitting the unlawful existence of bus depot on the ground that the law might change in future.

During the short argument, Bhushan asked for an interim stay on the High Court order and that no fresh construction is carried out. The apex court refrained from passing any interim direction, saying would examine the issue first.

In the petition, Arya said the High Court was wrong in not calling for the removal of the depot when it was an admitted fact that its current usage was contrary to the Master Plan. According to the Master Plan, the site is on Zone O, which is a green area.

The petition said the High Court ignored the fact that the site was allotted to DTC for temporary parking of buses during the Commonwealth Games and was never handed back. Also, there was no DUAC clearance for use of land on the river floodplain, the petition said.

Arya said any construction in Yamuna river bed would permanently destroy the ecology of the river and its ground water recharge ability.

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