The Delhi High Court Thursday granted six months time to the government to alter the city’s master plan in case it wants to continue to operate the Millennium Bus Depot on the banks of the Yamuna.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said that in case the government amended the master plan, the bus depot would continue to operate from the site. Otherwise, it would have to be relocated.
The depot was constructed by the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) as a temporary arrangement ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games here.
“The petitions are accordingly disposed of by granting six months time to respondents (Delhi government) to take steps for the change in the master plan, if it is possible, thereby changing the land use and bringing it in conformity with the present land use,” the court said.
“In case, the master plan is amended in this manner, the natural consequence thereof would be that the bus depot would continue to operate from the given site,” the court said.
The bench said that in case the master plan was not amended by the government there would be no option but to re-locate the depot.
“In that event, it will be for the DTC to ask the DDA (Delhi Development Authority) to allot an alternative site,” the court said.
The court’s directions came on petitions filed by environmentalists seeking directions to demolish the depot, alleging that its construction was against the master plan and harmful to the river.
The petitioners said that use of concrete for depot’s parking area could badly affect the water recharge capacity of the area.
The government argued that the depot was not built on the river bed but on a site earlier used for dumping flyash.
“We are of the opinion that these petitions can be disposed of by permitting the respondents to take steps for amendment in the master plan, as per law, if permissible,” the court said.
“There is a specific procedure for effecting the change in the master plan, which includes notice to the public at large and inviting objections. Once this procedure is followed and objections are invited, it would be open to petitioners to file their objections and raise issue of ecology and environment which will have to be considered,” the court added.
The depot was inaugurated in September 2010.