Saturday, June 5, 2010

Neela Hauz to wait for revival until Games are Over

The centuries old Neela Hauz will have to wait for the Commonwealth Games to get over before it gets any attention from the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).

Chief minister Sheila Dikshit, who visited the site with PWD minister R K Chauhan on Thursday, announced that unless DDA was prepared with a comprehensive plan for developing the water body, it should be allowed to remain as it is. She did instruct PWD to immediately remove all the malba that surrounded Neela Hauz and widen the road leading from the flyover to Vasant Kunj.

Dikshit also pulled up the lone DDA representative for having failed to draw up any plan for the restoration of the lake that was practically dead after the construction of a flyover over it was undertaken by PWD in 2008.

‘‘The official had arrived with a plan that did not even have basic information like the size of area. The CM felt that it would be unwise to carry out any work on the lake till some concrete plan was in place. She said that even the water hyacinths that cover the lake at present should be left untouched since they at least make the area look green. DDA has said that it will draw up a restoration plan only after PWD removes the malba and it carries out its own survey and that cannot happen till the Games are over,’’ said Vinod Jain, director, NGO Tapas.

The CM also instructed PWD to convert the old road that connected Aruna Asif Ali Marg to Vasant Kunj as a walking or cycling track and merge the lake with the Sanjay Van area. ‘‘The lake should be developed naturally so that it becomes a haven for birds. No concrete structures should come up even if it is developed as a biodiversity park,’’ she said.

Nitya Jacob, also part of the Neela Hauz movement, said that they would seek another meeting with the CM. ‘‘If nothing else, the water weeds have to be removed right now so that the lake can fill up during the monsoon. If we wait till October, the lake will get water only during the next monsoon. It is already in such a pathetic state that it might not last till next year,’’ he said. PWD was supposed to have completed work initially by September 2009. The deadline was extended to March 2010 and has been further pushed till end-June.