Vrindavan, 2017.07.20 (VT): It seems Akhilesh Yadav’s dream project, the Yamuna Riverfront Project in Vrindavan, has now become the dream project of the Yogi governement as well.
But the problem is, the project is running without a DPR (Detailed Project Report). Without a detailed plan, the people of Vrindavan have no idea what the government is really doing to the riverfront, and there is a good possibility the government itself doesn’t either.
This week Vrindavan made news when the Forestry Department refused to plant any new trees in the city, saying that there is no space left for greenery. Meanwhile there is still no sewage or solid waste management system; the municipality sold the town’s only landfill to the local grain market years ago.
A clueless and corrupt approach to development has made disasters like these possible. Unless a DPR is submitted for the riverfront project, we can only expect the it to turn out as poorly as every other government-run project in Vrindavan.
Local citizens are especially concerned that the Riverfront Project’s sheet piling work is lowering the water level in Vrindavan. They have written to the District Magistrate, Divisional Commissioner and the Chief Secretary of the State of UP, alarmed that soon there may not be any ground water available due to the sheet piling along the ghats.
It is shocking that the Yogi government is pushing for the Riverfront Project’s completion without bothering about the DPR. The National Green Tribunal, however, has on multiple occasions insisted that the DPR be submitted before any work on the riverfront is done.
Last Februrary, the previous CM of Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav, alotted 180 crore rupees for the Yamuna Riverfront Project in Vrindavan. The project was handed over to the Irrigation Department for implementation last June. The rising of the Yamuna River’s water level during the monsoon, as well as several court cases against the project in the Delhi High Court and the NGT, put the work on hold.
Two months ago, on May 18th, the NGT heard the case. They allowed sheet piling on the riverfront. But the court also ruled that the Detailed Project Report (DPR) must be filed by July 13th. According to the NGT’s ruling, the DPR must be approved by the NGT before any further work is done.
The deadline has passed but the Irrigation Department has still not submitted the DPR.
The Superintendent of the Irrigation Department Mr. NC Upadhyay says that he does not know whether the DPR has been prepared or not. He requested us to ask the Executive Engineer.
The Executive Engineer of the Irrigation Department, Mr. Rajnikant Sharma, said that the job of preparing the DPR was allocated to the Jal Nigam (Water Corporation).
On the other hand, Jal Nigam officials say that they have not been paid for preparing the DPR, thus the DPR has not been prepared.