Hundreds of houses have come up in the lake area on government land behind the Indira Priyadarshini Park near Hindon river in Ghaziabad.
Police suspect that land mafias have filled the pond area and sold the houses to poor migrant population, which may include Bangladeshi migrants.
Five years ago, the municipal corporation had handed over around 50 acres of the park area to a private firm for the development of an amusement park (with boating and eco-tourism facility) on BOT basis. The area includes a water body, which gets supply from the Hindon.
Now, the lake is encroached with plotting activity, which is gradually increasing, near Mohan Nagar adjacent to the Delhi-Howrah rail track.
Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) officials said the area, including the water body, was earmarked under the Master Plan 2021 for amusement park and playground. No housing activity was allowed.
The park’s in-charge said around 1,000 turtles and thousands of fish seeds were put in the water. “Their population has decreased as residents kill them for food.
They even kill ducks. Whenever our guards try to stop them, there is a clash between them,” said Sikander Yadav, the park’s in-charge.
“Even after representations to the officials concerned, our efforts to stop the plotting activity have failed,” he added.
Occupants said that incessant land filling activity, by using industrial and construction waste, was usually carried out during the night under the watchful eyes of police officials.
They said they paid R1.25-2 lakh for plots measuring 50 yards, which were even registered in their names.
It was after Hindustan Times approached the police, SSP Raghubir Lal visited the area to ascertain the actual situation.
“This cannot be the handiwork of the land mafia alone. Policemen might also be involved. We have issued strict directions to stop further construction in the area.
Our officials will keep a tab on dumpers and tractors used for filling up the area,” he said. “We have also ordered our officials to check the land records and identify those who have sold land to the poor,” Lal added.
ADM (city) Atal K Rai said, “We don’t know of any such activity. We will get it checked by the revenue department.”
On the other hand, municipal commissioner Basant Lal alleged that the civic body did not receive enough support from the police and administrative officials on the issue. “If we get some support, we can stop the activity,” he said.