Ghaziabad & Noida: After coming to power one of the major announcements that the Yogi Adityanath Govt. made—apart from anti romeo squads and stopping of all illegal abattoirs—was acting against illegal encroachments and constructions. In line with this the developmental authorities have been preparing a blueprint for carrying out anti encroachment drives in Ghaziabad, Noida & Gr. Noida and Hapur areas. Reportedly, the GDA and the HPDA have been in the media recently for carrying out such drives; and in one such drive against a religious structure built on green belt, when the GDA tried to remove the structure and demolished one cow shed built along, it had to face stiff resistance from the people residing in the vicinity as well as some religious groups who reportedly stalled the drive—saying that the temple was built around 25-30 yrs back.
Needless to say, that such resistance to illegal religious encroachments even if they had been built years back, does not give them legitimacy whether they belong to any religion and these should be treated as just another violation of law. Many such encroachments in the name of religion exist in Ghaziabad, Noida, Hapur and Meerut with vested interests behind them. And, putting up such encumbrances in the way of government authorities would mean undermining the CM’s effort to stop illegal constructions and remove them.
Previously also several residents of Ghaziabad had gone to meet the CM when they were asked to demolish constructions in violation of law by the GDA. In Vasundhara and Vaishali in Ghaziabad, large chunks of green areas belonging to UP Irrigation Dept. have been usurped by the land mafia who have built religious structures over them. In fact, it seems that the area has been earmarked for religious structures rather than for green belt. Frequent ‘bhandaras’ organized leave a trail of pollution, traffic congestion and economic activity that only benefits these encroachers. “Such people should be booked and encroachments be removed at the earliest in Indirapuram, Vaishali and other areas,” pointed out Deepak Kasana of Shakti Khand, Indirapuram. He added, “These people are outsiders with no credentials so a threat to security also.”
“No action being taken by the previous regimes does not mean that the encroachers would heve their way and come in the way of the authorities. This is also in blatant disregard to SC directives banning religious structure on public land and on roads,” said Jawahar Singh Rana of Noida.
“People behind these encroachments are basically land grabbers who know that by building a religious structure it would be easy for them to usurp land,” said Geetika Phartyal of Vaishali Sector 2. She pointed out how these encroachers have taken over public land adjoining Hindon Canal in Ghaziabad and have built concrete structures on them.
Moreover, these encroachments are a slap on the face of law abiding citizens who are unable to buy land and are hence living in flats by taking costlier home loans and spending money on registry.
“The police, DM and the public authorities should identify who is behind such encroachments as political patronage cannot be ruled out on account of temples and places of worship seeing a lot of people thronging the place and making offerings in cash and kind,” remarked Jai Singh, a Vasundhara Sector 13 resident.
In Ghaziabad alone, prime land belonging to Ghaziabad Municipal corporation, GDA and UP Irrigation Dept. has been laid seize upon by the land mafia. It is said that several local politicians, builders and even government officials also extend their patronage to such illegal misdoings. Laxity by GDA and Municipal Corporation under the previous regimes to reclaim the land allowed these encroachments to flourish.
In Noida also, huge swathes have been usurped by land sharks. Religious encroachments abound in Noida also and the Noida Authority is learnt to have been compiling a list of all such encroachments.
However, with the UP CM himself asking officials to deal with encroachments with an iron hand the GDA should have nothing to fear and with better planning should weed out illegal constructions from Ghaziabad’s skyline.
-Written by Prasoon Pant, Editor, delhiNCRnews.in