A bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on January 30 passed an order allowing the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to construct a new bridge on the Yamuna flood plains for Line-7 / Pink Line’s 12.375 km extension from Maujpur to Majlis Park in the 61.679 km (and growing) Delhi Metro Phase 4 project.
Realizing the future need for this bridge, the DMRC filed its original application way back in June 2012 in the initial years of Phase 3’s construction. The order, recommending approval, was passed after noting the recommendations of a Principal Committee which approved its construction subject to certain conditions.
The entire order (11 page PDF) is available on the India Environment Portal here. Here are some important nuggets (bolded text is my emphasis) –
On merits, it is submitted that the Principal Committee has considered necessity of the project in public interest and mitigation measures during construction and operational phase and recommended the project for approval by this Tribunal, subject to the conditions laid down in terms of proceedings of the Committee meeting held on 13.09.2019 under agenda No. 2. The construction will not cause any change in flow conditions or cause difficulty in the barrage upstream or Signature Bridge downstream. Conditions laid down are:-
“After detailed deliberation by the Principal Committee on the merits and de-merits of the project, the Committee recommended the proposal for approval of Hon’ble NGT, subjected to fulfillment of following conditions by DMRC:
i. All the construction activities should be carried out with minimum effect on the flood plains.
ii. Restoration of the flood plain that may be impacted adversely or otherwise by the construction of bridge alignment in the Yamuna flood plain/ pillars.
iii. The muck/debris generated should be disposed off scientifically and no dumping shall be allowed on the flood plains.
iv. Compensation of the trees to be cut during construction/ operational phase of the project to be carried out by DMRC without fail.
v. Failure to abide by any conditions thereof will lead to withdrawal of permissions. In order to have a better understanding, Principal Committee recommended that Department of Water Resources, RD&GR, Ministry of Jal Shakti may be requested to carry out an integrated morphological study of river Yamuna in Delhi stretch, for evaluating the impact created by the existing bridge/ metro/ railway projects and the proposed projects, individually as well as cumulatively on afflux created and its impact on flood levels”.
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.
We may also observe that to ensure further environmental safeguards for river Yamuna and its flood plains on account of such activities in future, besides individual evaluation of such projects on environmental yardstick, Cumulative Impact Assessment is required to be carried out. The Cumulative Impact Assessment would be able to capture holistic picture in terms of impact of such future developmental activities and the required mitigation measures. The Principal Committee may also consider setting up of artificial wetlands, bio-diversity parks and other necessary mitigation measures, including phyto-remediation at the mouth of drains leading to the river, at the cost of project proponents. The study may be got conducted by Principal Committee, by apportioning the cost amongst project proponents based on quantum of development and their environmental footprints.
The application is disposed of accordingly.
Historically, the DMRC has always contracted out their river bridges in dedicated packages, but for Phase 4 – they’ve included the new bridge’s construction as part of one big civil package (DC-02), which was awarded in November 2019 to a consortium of Longjian – KEC JV with a contract value of Rs. 1,080.00 Cr.
DC-02’s scope of works include the line’s viaduct, bridge over the Yamuna River, a PWD double-decker flyover and 8 stations at Yamuna Vihar, Bhajanpura, Khajuri Khas, Sonia Vihar, Wazirabad Surghat, Jagatpur Village, Jharoda Majra and Burari.
This will be the DMRC’s 5th bridge over the Yamuna River and its flood plains. The other 4 are located (in the order of construction) – on the Red Line (near Kashmere Gate, built in Phase 1), Blue Line (at Indraprastha, built in Phase 2), Magenta Line (at Okhla, built in Phase 3) and Pink Line (near Millennium Park, built in Phase 3). Given its long history of construction over the river and on its flood plains, this approval shouldn’t come as a surprise.
For more updates, check out the Delhi section of The Metro Rail Guy!