Vasundhara colony of Ghaziabad sharing its borders with Indirapuram, Vaishali and Mohan Nagar was supposed to be a flagship housing destination of Uttar Pradesh Avas Evam Vikas Parishad or UP Housing Board, but is today a far cry from what it was supposed to be—a place with lots of breathing space, green belts, wide roads, parks; however, the ever increasing encroachments and misuse of housing bye-laws is acting as a slow poison that threatens to kill the serenity of the place. Divided into 19 sectors, this is still one of the most open and green colonies, however, the apathetic attitude of officials is proving to be a like a slow death for Vasundhara.

Shops open in houses along main road in Vasundhara Sector 16 are a cause of pollution, encroachment and traffic jams, say residents

Although the Avas Vikas has built quite a number of commercial complexes within every sector of Vasundhara these remain largely unoccupied still. Either the owners possessing shops here are out or they are not interested in starting a business. But Avas Vikas seems to have a no policy of asking these people to either start a business or surrender their shops. Secondly, commercial activities are rampant in single-unit houses along the main arterial road that passes through Vasundhara.

This change of land use can be seen along Sector 16 in Vasundhara where single-house owners have opened shop and this business is going on for long right under the nose of Avas Vikas officials. Starting from Agrasen Chowk several branded/ unbranded shops are doing brisk business. In the evenings, they extend these businesses just up to the main road leading to parking chaos and choking traffic. Many illegal vendors also take positions outside these illegal shops. The police department is also slow to act on the encroachers. The public is also at fault to park their vehicles along roads.

A resident of Sector 16, Vikas Awasthi said that the due to these illegal shops residents of Vasundhara are facing air & noise pollution, traffic jams- due to increased vendor and hawker activity, especially in the evenings and during festive seasons. This is not good for senior citizens and children, but the authorities including the police are indifferent to these violations.”

When delhincrnews.in spoke to Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam (GNN) officials at Vasundhara office, they said that the Nagar Nigam has been carrying out numerous drives and in many cases confiscated the equipment (Thelis/Khokha) of these illegal hawkers and vendors.

According to Sunil Kumar Rai, Vasundhara Zonal head of GNN, “We have suggested a joint effort of Avas Vikas and GNN to remove encroachers and to find a permanent solution to encroachments in Vasundhara.”

However, it is up to the Avas Vikas to see that no one is carrying out trade through housing units that it had failed to check, it was pointed out. The Municipal Commissioner Chandra Prakash Singh in a chat previously, had also suggested that to get rid of encroachments Avas Vikas will need to put a check on the illegal use of housing for commercial purposes.

The Avas Vikas on its part has blamed the lack of enforcement manpower at their disposal. A senior engineer of Avas Vikas, Rajeev Kumar said “that those carrying out illegal commercial activity in housing units were being sent notices from time to time but as the Avas Vikas does not have an enforcement/police wing of its own it is unable to do so in a forceful manner.”

The Avas Vikas has also been held responsible by the administration for turning a blind eye towards illegal buildings that are proliferating in sectors 5, 10, 12 etc. Here, fraud builders have constructed flats on a single-unit plot (plot allotted to a single person) and sold them to gullible persons—mostly from Delhi who are not aware of the building byelaws. The administration reportedly after an investigation indicted 3 engineers of Avas Vikas in a particular matter concerning violation of building byelaws in Sector 5 where several flats were being built on a single plot.

Whereas in Delhi the Supreme Court has come down hard on the Centre and Delhi Govt. who have failed to put a check on commercial activity in housing colonies, in Ghaziabad these illegally run commercial establishments do not have any fear of law due to apathy of officials who are required to stop such illegalities.

-delhincrnews.in reporter

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