Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding concretization of the river bed and flood plain of the Ayad river, Udaipur, Rajasthan, 05/09/2023
Order of the National Green Tribunal (Central Zonal Bench, Bhopal) in the matter of Jheel Sanrakhan Samiti Vs State of Rajasthan & Others dated 05/09/2023.
The grievance of the applicant is the illegal concretization of the river bed and flood plain of the Ayad River between Subhash Nagar-Ayad river pathway check and Ayad Shamshan Ghat located in Udaipur, Rajasthan. The Ayad river is a sub-tributary of the Berach river which is a main tributary of river Banas, which in turn is a tributary of Chambal river. Udaipur Smart City had started concretization of the river bed and the flood plains of Ayad River in the city of Udaipur. The project named 'Ayad River Smart Front Development and Beautification Project' had proposed for landscaping and beautification in a phased manner via a tender, first issued in 2020, along the 5 km stretch of the river out of its entirety of 26 km.
Apart from the concretization and restriction of the flow of the Ayad river, other construction activities were being undertaken as a part of the landscaping and beautification drive of the Project such as walkways on both sides of the river for pedestrians, development of roads on the promenade, cycle track and other structures for recreational purposes on the entire width of the river channel including its adjacent floodplains and one stretch of 260 meter of the Ayad River.
The submission of the counsel for the applicant is that the concretization in the name of beautification or the demarcation of the flood plain and the construction undertaken by the respondents had directly encroached on the river belt and the flood plains of the river Ayad. It is further submitted that the concretization of the riverbed and construction on the flood plain of the river Ayad has affected the natural flow of the river and such activity is in violation of of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed Udaipur Smart City Limited to see to it that in the Ayad River Development Project, reinforcement cement concrete (RCC) should not be allowed "except vertical walls of channel/toe walls along the direction of flow". In some places RCC construction is proposed (where the soil is loose and the bearing capacity is low) to support stone pitching this should be avoided and stabilization (increase of strength) is to be done by providing dry stone boulders or other techniques instead of providing RCC Slabs, the NGT, Central Zonal Bench, Bhopal said.
The court noted that the chlorination process is used for the disinfection of treated waste water of STP before discharging it to the river. Hence the tribunal recommended changing the process of chlorination to ozonisation which is a very effective process of disinfection and the same time will increase dissolved oxygen in the treated waste water. There should be provision for gates to be included in proposed anicuts and existing anicuts.
In addition, the court directed the following guidelines to be implemented by the authorities - plantation on both sides of river banks area; restriction of multistorey buildings adjacent to river banks; construction of a central channel in the whole city reach of the river and that the increase of depth near river banks is to be avoided as it may lead to failure of the foundation of buildings situated on the river banks.