The Uttarakhand high court on Tuesday quashed a controversial government order allocating industrial land on the banks of river Ganga in Rishikesh for a housing project to a private developer and observed that bureaucrats "mislead" the Ramesh Pokhariyal government on the issue.
Directing the state government to take back the land, a two-member bench comprising Chief Justice Barin Ghosh and Justice V K Bist also ordered withdrawing of all relaxations and facilities including grants to Sturdia Developers, said Avtar Singh Negi, the counsel for the petitioner-- NGO Independent Media Society.
The court said that the land cannot be used for any purpose other than industrial, Negi said.
The high court also observed that the bureaucracy "misled" the state government which resulted in granting permission for land use change to Sturdia developers and said the government may set up an enqiry to investigate the matter at its level.
The issue of change of land use pattern of 30 acres of land belonging to Citurgia Biochemicals, a sick industrial unit at Rishikesh, for housing purpose rocked the Uttarkhand assembly this year with opposition parties led by Congress accusing Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank of giving undue favour to the developer in violation of environment laws.
The petitioner had contended in the court that the state government changed the land use pattern of an industry to a housing project in alleged violation of norms and sought a CBI inquiry into the case.
On the last day of hearing in the case on November 30, Uttarakhand government had filed an affidavit informing the court that it has already withdrawn all the concessions given to the private company for constructing of the housing project on the banks of river Ganga in Rishikesh.