NEW DELHI: Congress today batted for farmers who have been undertaking cultivation along the banks of the Yamuna here as it called for an "agreeable solution" to protect their interests in the wake of a recent demolition drive carried out by DDA on their farms.
The party said that steps should be taken to give relief to the farmers even as it maintained that it should be done keeping the green norms in mind. Delhi Development Authority (DDA) carried out the demolition drive two days ago following an NGT order in this regard.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had in January this year prohibited cultivation of edible crop on the floodplains of the Yamuna, saying that the vegetables grown there were "highly contaminated" and their consumption could lead to cancer.
"What we want is an agreeable solution for the farmers while strictly following NGT's orders. We want that the NGT's orders are followed, environment is protected.
"But we also have to see if there is a solution for farmers too," Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken said after meeting farmers at Kisan Ghat here today.
Pushing the cause of the cultivators, Maken said that whatever green stretches are available along the Yamuna's banks are the ones which were tilled by farmers. At other places, he added, unauthorised constructions have mushroomed.
"We should acknowledge the fact that these (farmers) are the very people who could have... they were given land by DDA on lease for decades altogether, but they chose not to make money out of unauthorised constructions.
"So, in a way, they have kept the place green by choosing not to make money by way of unauthorised constructions, which has been the case at many other places on the banks of Yamuna," he said.
In its order, NGT had allowed restricted activities of floriculture and silviculture subject to specific permissions and restrictions and Maken said that the farmers were agreeable to the offer.
"But in that case too, DDA should be sensitive enough. It should make arrangements for their (farmers') proper technical training and also enable proper linkages and access to flower markets," said Maken.