The Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal ordered the Principal Committee constituted by the Tribunal for the construction of a bridge on the Yamuna flood plains under Phase IV of the DMRC Project. The bench has also asked the Committee for Cumulative Impact Assessment to ensure further environmental safeguards for river Yamuna and its flood plains on account of such future developmental activities and the required mitigation measures.
The application was filed by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) requesting the Tribunal to permit them to construct a bridge on the Yamuna flood plains under Phase - IV of the DMRC Project.
The said application was filed with regard to a matter decided by the Tribunal in O.A. No. 06/2012 dated 13.01.2015. In the said matter, the Tribunal had ordered the constitution of a 'Principal Committee' for supervision to carry out the directives of the judgment. The Tribunal had also ordered to demarcate the floodplain and to protect it from any encroachments or development activities.
Further, the Tribunal also directed the Principal Committee to make its recommendations as to which of the structures ought or ought not to be demolished in the interest of the environment and ecology, if such structures have been raised in an unauthorized or illegal manner.
In the instant case, though the bench opined that the Tribunal is not open to pass any further order at variance with the judgment in the exercise of inherent power, it was found that in the earlier judgment mentioned above, the Principal Committee was allowed to make exceptions to the general direction against any construction on the flood plains.
The Principal Committee thereafter considered the necessity of the project in public interest and mitigation measures during the construction and operational phase and recommended the project for approval by the Tribunal. The Committee specified that the said construction would be subjected to the conditions laid down in terms of proceedings of the Committee meeting held on 13.09.2019.
"The construction will not cause any change in flow conditions or cause difficulty in the barrage upstream or Signature Bridge downstream."
Accordingly, the Tribunal said,
"We may now consider the recommendations of the Principal Committee constituted by this Tribunal. We are conscious that the Tribunal does not have any assistance to any rival viewpoints to deal with the present issue so as to go into any possible objection to legality - substantive or procedural. Having regard to the nature of the project and opinion of the Principal Committee, we do not see any prima facie objection to the project. The same must, however, comply with legal requirements and procedures."
The bench also ordered the Principal Committee about the requirement of a Cumulative Impact Assessment to be carried out for environmental safeguards.
"The Cumulative Impact Assessment would be able to capture a holistic picture in terms of the impact of such future developmental activities and the required mitigation measures", the bench added.
The Tribunal also directed the Principal Committee to set up artificial wetlands, biodiversity parks, and other necessary mitigation measures including phytoremediation at the mouth of drains leading to the river at the cost of project proponents.