"Nearly 20 acres of land has been demarcated by the DDA in north Delhi's Rohini, near Rani Khera area. We have handed over possession to the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) to begin with, for the relocation of the depot," a senior official in DDA's Land Management Department said today.
"While we have handed over this possession to the DTC, we are still working out the payment options," he said.
The bus depot spread over nearly 50 acres along the western banks of the Yamuna, was built at a cost of Rs 60 crore ahead of the Commonwealth Games in 2010 by the then Sheila Dikshit dispensation on a temporary basis.
After petitions filed by environmentalists, saying the site was damaging the ecologically-sensitive zone, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) took cognisance of the case and the matter went to the Delhi High Court.
The former Arvind Kejriwal-led government had in January this year told the court that it will relocate the bus depot within nine months.
In May, DDA had told the court that it will be giving plots at three separate places, Rohini site being one of them, to the city government for shifting the depot.
The other two places are -- land at the Institute of Driving Training & Research (IDTR) at Sarai Kale Khan and a site at Karkari More in east Delhi.
"The depot is located in 'Zone O' (river plains) and so there were demands for its shifting from the environment activists. A review meeting was held at the Raj Niwas recently to ascertain the status of the pending allotments of land to the DTC for shifting of the depot, where this decision was taken," DDA's Vice Chairman Balvinder Kumar told PTI.
DTC, when contacted, confirmed the handing over of the possession of the Rohini site.
"Yes, we have received possession of the 20-acre Rohini site," DTC's Public Relations Officer R S Minhas said.
The senior DDA official in the Land Management said work was underway for rest of the two sites too.
"The land currently occupied by the IDTR would be made available to the DTC after shifting of the institute to another place. We might be able to hand over soon, possession for this site too," he said.
As per the third site at Karkari More, the official said, DDA was thinking of "hiring a consultant" to work out the land use there for the depot.
A senior DTC official said the transport body recently also had a meet with DDA's UTTIPEC (Unified Traffic Transportation Infrastructure Planning and Engineering Centre) to figure out the working structure for the third site in east Delhi.
The Karkari More site has not been demarcated and during the recent meet review meet at the Raj Niwas, the DDA also decided to "swing into action with regard to demarcation, handing over and work permissions" as per the timelines.
The depot, built on a temporary basis for the buses used for ferrying athletes during the Commonwealth Games in 2010 in the national capital, was to be dismantled later.
Being located in ecologically-fragile Yamuna banks, the environmentalists have been pushing for its relocation from the current site.
The Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party government in January had decided to shift the depot. The then chief minister had said that the site could be turned into a park.
"We should not tamper with the fragile Yamuna ecology and tomorrow we will convey the same to the court. Structures which are developed will remain there but no new structures would be built. We will rather develop it for people. May be, we can set up a park there," Kejriwal had then said.
The bus depot has parking space for around 1,000 low-floor buses besides various other facilities, including five workshop-cum-scanning centres, a logistic centre and two CNG-filling stations.