Gurugram: Housing projects in seven sectors built in Ghata lake area prone to flooding

Gurugram: Housing projects in seven sectors built in Ghata lake area prone to flooding

June 7, 2019 in Uncategorized

GURUGRAM: Scores of highrise buildings and houses in seven residential sectors (58-64, along Southern Peripheral Road) built in the catchment area of Ghata bundh face a permanent risk of flooding during monsoons, or any episode of heavy rainfall, because the catchment is shaped like a gradient that will naturally bring rainwater rushing towards the lower side.
The observation has been made in a study conducted by the GMDA, which found the difference in the gradient of these seven sectors to be 10 metres, shaped like a slope going downwards from Sector 58 towards Sector 64. This implies that the flooding threat is the highest in the farthest sectors where, officials said, many housing licences having been issued, putting the projects at risk because of the danger of basements getting flooded.
While a few high-end projects have already been developed in the area, work on several others is under way. “Due to the topographical characteristics of the place, Ghata receives water from the Aravalis in Delhi as well as Gurgaon. And in case of heavy rainfall, the projects developed in the vicinity of the bundh and the lake (the lowest point of the gradient) are highly susceptible to flooding and damage to their foundation,” said a GMDA source.
This brings under scrutiny the decision to grant the licences in the first place as well as the master plan’s categorisation of the area as residential sectors. The GMDA study, conducted on the instructions of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to survey Ghata bundh and its catchment area,
states that the department of town and country planning has issued several licences for urbanisation in Ghata in consonance with the master plan.
The report identifies a 60-hectare rea situated at an elevation below 240 metres as most vulnerable to flooding during peak stormwater flow, whereas the vulnerability is moderate above 240m. The highest point of the gradient on which these seven sectors are built is at 245m, and the lowest at 235m.
“The natural flow of the water has been disturbed in the area around the bundh and in case of heavy rain, the whole catchment is at the risk of flooding,” said a senior GMDA official.
The study was done in compliance with a 2018 NGT order which mandated the restoration of Ghata lake.
A senior official involved in making the report said that given the gravity of the matter, there is a need for an explanation from DTCP as to why housing licences were issued. “Questions must be asked why the licences were issued despite knowledge of the flooding risk in the area, and if any drainage arrangements were made to offset the risks,” said the official.
DTCP chief KM Pandurang said, “I will have to analyse the study before I can comment on its contents.” However, in an affidavit dated July 22, 2016 in the NGT, DTCP had justified the move, saying the said area had been earmarked in the development plan as a residential sector. Therefore, DTCP is competent to grant a license for development of residential colonies in the said sector, it said.
Environment experts have long been pointing out the damage done to Ghata bundh. The bundh as of now survives as an 800-metre long structure with the lake bed mostly encroached. “We need to understand if the bundh and the water body can be revived and if yes, then the government need to give alternative land to the licencees and salvage whatever is left of the water body. Additionally, all the nullahs must be cleared of encroachment so that water can flow freely,” said Chetan Agarwal, an environment activist.


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