A farmers’ body today approached the National Green Tribunal against the demolition drive on their farms carried out by DDA in pursuance to the green panel’s ban order on cultivation of edible crop on floodplains of Yamuna here.
The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) had on June 16 demolished huts and razed farms spread over 20 acres in order to clear the banks of Yamuna of unauthorized settlements and farms.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, which refused to pass any direction, asked Delhi Peasants Multipurpose Society to get the crops tested in the laboratory in order to check the level of contamination in the produce.
“Can you dispute the fact that Yamuna is highly polluted.
Why should we permit you to save the agricultural produce. We cannot put the health of people at stake for your monetary gains,” the bench said while posting the matter for next hearing on July 14.
The farmers society has sought modification of January 13 order of the Tribunal by which it had prohibited cultivation of edible crop on the floodplains of Yamuna here, saying the vegetables grown there were “highly contaminated” and their consumption could lead to cancer.
It also seeks permission to allow the members of the society to continue farming activities in Yamuna as “it is source of livelihood for about 10,000 families”.
The farmer society has contended that they do not use polluted water from Yamuna for cultivation of crops and instead use fresh water extracted out of borewells for irrigation purposes.
It has also averred that there was no specific report submitted before the Tribunal that any particular pollutant was found in the samples collected from crops cultivated by the members of the society.
“The applicant is compelled to approach this Tribunal on account of the acts committed by the DDA purportedly under the orders of this Tribunal.
“DDA, while taking the shelter of directions, came to certain sites of the applicant society and with a team of officials ruined the entire crops,” the society said.
“It is an established fact that presently, vegetables, fodder grown and allied projects at the flood plain of River Yamuna are highly contaminated. Besides containing ingredients of high pollutants, such produce is even found to contain metallic pollutants…
“Therefore, we direct that no authority shall permit and no person shall carryout, any edible crops /fodder cultivation on the Flood Plain. This direction shall strictly be adhered to till Yamuna is made pollution free and is restored to its natural wholesomeness,” the bench had said.
The Tribunal, however, had allowed restricted activities of floriculture and silviculture subject to specific permissions and restrictions.