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Panel: Scrap Yamuna riverfront project

In a major disappointment for Delhi Development Authority (DDA), the National Green Tribunal on Friday said that the health of Yamuna will be affected by DDA's grand plans to develop recreational facilities on the river.

It has also recommended the government to declare a 52km stretch of the Yamuna in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh as a 'conservation zone' as the environmental flow through this stretch will play an important role in restoring the ecological functions of the river in the lean season.

The report has been prepared by the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) panel and it was submitted to the NGT on Friday during a hearing on environment activist Manoj Misra's petition against the dumping of waste on the foodplains of Yamuna.

The court allowed all the parties in the case to raise objections or offer suggestions on the report before the next hearing on May 22.

The committee headed by C R Babu, professor emeritus, Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystems (CEMDE), Delhi University has said that DDA's Yamuna Riverfront Development (YRFD) scheme will reduce the flood carrying capacity of the river.

"The interests of the river and the city will be best served by abandoning the YRFD plan and restoring the remaining floodplain area to bring back its natural functions and biodiversity," the report said.