Officials said all 10 projects undertaken by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) in thousands of hectares of the Yamuna floodplain as part of its rehabilitation plan over the past few years have been affected and their recovery will take a few years, given that Such floods should not happen again.
Since most of the area is still submerged or covered with mud, it will take time to assess the exact nature and extent of the damage, he said, adding that at some places, at least 2-metre-deep water still accumulated.
“We will prepare a new plan in a month or two and start the restoration work immediately. However, procuring lakhs of saplings and grass through tenders and planting them will take time,” said an official. River grasses were obtained from many places near the Yamuna.
Projects have been undertaken to protect the floodplain from soil erosion, encroachment and other factors, and water logging is a regular feature here during the monsoon. “However, this time things have gone beyond everyone’s imagination. We have been visiting the sites regularly after the rise in the Yamuna level and are convinced that the plantation done before the monsoon would not survive as the grass and plants were small and young.” The soil may also have been contaminated by the stagnation of flood water and officials are hopeful that the quality will improve again with the next few rains, the official said.
DDA also uses this area as a nursery to meet the continuous requirement of plants for the flood zone. “Mostly, species adapted to the Yamuna riparian region were grown here. The flood might have damaged them too.”
Restored water bodies in the flood zone will also need to be desilted. “The silt-laden flood water pollutes the recycled water needed for the survival of aquatic species. As far as the trees are concerned, the trees planted on the higher islands will survive,” the official expressed hope.
Officials expect the percentage of damage to civil work to be comparatively less. “For example, the baradari work at Vasudev Ghat is intact. No damage is expected to the pedestrian tracks at other sites,” the official said. High altitude places like Bansera are not affected.
However, the situation has put a question mark on the completion of the projects. “We were to complete the work on Vasudev Ghat by the end of July and six more projects – Kalindi Aviral, Asita West, Amrit Biodiversity Park, Yamuna Vatika, Kalindi Biodiversity Park and Yamuna Vanasthali – by the end of the year,” said an official. had to go.” The 90-hectare Asita East project between Old Railway Bridge and ITO Barrage has been completed.
The situation has also taught the DDA to be more selective about species. “We already have a list of 20-25 plants suited for the floodplain and we will focus on planting them besides river grass in large quantities,” the official said.
The DDA has planted 6 lakh saplings of native trees and 95 lakh river grass saplings, and the restoration has helped raise 1,350 million liters of water in the floodplain.