Concerns over Sabarmati Riverfront Development Project

Concerns over Sabarmati Riverfront Development Project construction on Gujarat's ambitious Sabarmati Riverfront Development Project in Ahmedabad, restarted in the second week of March, 2007. The project had been stalled since August 2006, when heavy floods inundated the city.

Following this, the National Institute of Hydrology (nih) and Indian Institute of Technology (iit), Roorkee, were asked to re-evaluate the project design, in the light of the river's carrying capacity, and see whether the execution of the project would damage the river's ecology. The team submitted its report early March, suggesting two measures: a gauge to determine flood levels where the Narmada's main canal crosses the Sabarmati; and dredging upstream of the Vasna barrage, implying a problem with the river's carrying capacity.

The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (amc) set up the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Corporation Ltd (srfdcl) in May 1997, "to revivify the city centre by reconnecting it to the river', says DK Mahajan, executive director, srfdcl. That August, amc appointed the Environment Planning Collaborative (epc), an Ahmedabad-based urban planning consultancy firm, to prepare a plan. In the first phase, epc identified a 9-km stretch of the riverfront extending from Subhash bridge to Vasna barrage and proposed to reclaim 162 hectares (ha) of the riverbed (see map: Disputed stretch). srfdcl planned to sell or lease out a part of it to finance the project. In 2003, it extended the project to cover a 20-km stretch