Taking note of news reports on the Art of Living event to take place on the banks of Yamuna, Delhi High Court yesterday said it appears to be a "disaster" from the "ecological point of view".
"That (AOL event) is a disaster from ecological point of view due to removal of the shrubs and trees. The area has been flattened. You (government) have given permission for a big pandal on the flood plain," a bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva said, adding, "we are only going by newspaper reports".
The observation was made during hearing of a PIL on the issue of unauthorized constructions on the flood plain of Yamuna in the Jaitpur and Mithapur areas of the national capital.
The court said that the government should consider making the structures in the area compliant with building bye-laws as well as norms for seismic zone IV if the unauthorized colonies there were going to be regularised.
It said that making the structures in these areas compliant with the norms was important because if an earthquake or flood hits Delhi, "these areas would be most vulnerable and there could be massive loss of lives".
It advised the authorities, including the Lieutenant Governor, Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the municipal corporation to take action against the builders who "duped many poor people" into buying houses in that area.
"Even if demolition is not carried out, police action should be there," the bench said. Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, appearing for DDA, told the court that in a recent meeting held by a joint task team, set up to address the issue, it was decided to prevent further unauthorized construction in the two areas.
The ASG said an action plan has been formulated for "containment" of construction in the area by setting up CCTV cameras, initiating proceedings against people engaged in fresh construction, confiscation of building material and various other measures, including police patrolling. 
During the hearing, the ASG said demolition of the 40 odd properties mentioned in the PIL would not solve the problem as around 20 unauthorized colonies having about 56,000 dwelling units housing approximately 2.5 lakh people have come up in the two areas apart from hundreds of religious structures, schools and health centres.
The areas also receive electricity and water supply from Delhi Jal Board, he told the court adding that if entire colonies are demolished it would lead to a housing problem of rehabilitating the 2.5 lakh people living there.
He said DDA and LG had never shied away from addressing the problem and were instead taking a holistic view rather than focusing on demolishing a few dwelling units.

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