The Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) it appears, is in an overdrive to act against illegal constructions and spaces encroached upon by people across Ghaziabad city, Muradnagar and Modinagar. At least media reports of the last fortnight indicate so. It is no secret, that Ghaziabad has been under siege from encroachments of all kinds, be it the indiscreet ramps extending outside many houses in localities like Raj Nagar, Kavi Nagar etc, or the more notorious encroachments in the form of illegal construction on public land.

Political pressure in the last decade or so has made the situation worse as encroachments done with political muscle were never questioned. However, for the first time in the last decade or so, the GDA has been seen to be so proactive when it comes to knocking out these illegalities, through demolition or by sealing them. One reason for this could be a proactive Vice Chairman—who has tried to set an example by demolishing encroachment outside her (sarkari) house. This might be the sign of things to come. The other reason could be the CM’s policy of not siding with wrongdoing of any kind and encroachment of any type is definitely one of those wrongdoings.

However, the GDA’s anti-encroachment stir hit roadblocks in Raj Nagar and attracted criticism too, but that has not deterred the VC. Several people—including some, so called dignitaries of the city—have tried to question the GDA VC, Kanchan Verma, “that how without serving notice could GDA act against ramps outside houses.” It seems they are forgetting the fact that notices could only be served when someone is perceived to be doing wrong—in such a case a notice should be served first and the aggrieved party can always take recourse to law and answer the ‘perceived’ notion about the illegality committed by him/her in legal language and through a legal platform. But encroachments—in the form of ramps and gardens extending up to the road are proof of their own illegality and the GDA has every right to demolish them. Moreover, these people should question themselves as to why they have committed such an illegality?

The GDA should also see that parks in areas under its jurisdiction do not have more than 5% permanent construction as mandated by a state GO of 2001 and also by NGT. Recently, in a park in Raj Nagar a library was being constructed, in defiance of these norms (it was alleged by an environment activist) and had raised this issue with Nagar Nigam and GDA both (read:

Meanwhile, it is learnt, that the GDA has also reportedly sent a reminder to several residential units across the city, to not carry out any commercial activity through flats and apartments. This is something that has been going on for long and has resulted in rampant encroachments in he city area as well as in colonies like Vaishali, Indirapuram and Kaushambi. As a result, the footpaths have been swallowed by the illegal vends that operate in their full capacity in the evenings reportedly in collusion with the local police.

The GDA has a lot to do especially when it comes to illegal borewells that have been now banned by NGT (read These illegal borewells have played havoc with Ghaziabad’s underground water table—so much so that it falls under the dark zone as categorized by the CGWA. If the GDA succeeds in putting a halt to illegal boring and use of groundwater, it would be doing a great service to the future of this region.

Meanwhile, concerned residents of Vasundhara—under UP Housing Board’s jurisdiction—wonder, when they will hear about similar steps taken against encroachments by the Housing Board, or by the local admin.

-By Prasoon Pant

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