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Illegal religious structures along Hindon

After large-scale violence erupted in NH-24 area on September 5 over illegal colonies along the River Hindon, the Ghaziabad administration now faces another challenge of encroachment in the form of illegal religious structures. Peeyush Khandelwal reports.

india Updated: Sep 21, 2009 23:31 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal

After large-scale violence erupted in NH-24 area on September 5 over illegal colonies along the River Hindon, the Ghaziabad administration now faces another challenge of encroachment in the form of illegal religious structures.

Officials said the number of such religious structures have increased phenomenally and caused considerable damage to green areas.

Commercial establishments and illegal colonies have added to the havoc being played on valuable government land.

Till now only areas in the old city were affected by such illegal structures, but in the recent years new areas in trans-Hindon have seen considerable growth.

Last week another such structure came up on Ghaziabad Development Authority’s (GDA) green belt in Indirapuram.

GDA officials lodged an FIR with the police in this connection and the illegal construction activity was stopped, though the structure remains.

“These encroachments cannot come up without the involvement of officials. Parks and green belts have been worst affected by such constructions in many areas,” said Municipal Councillor Rajendra Tyagi.

“Encroachment takes a heavy toll on greenery and the civic infrastructure.”

The administration has assured proper action many times but little has been done to remove such encroachments.

“Encroachments would not be tolerated especially over the green belts. Various agencies have been asked to deploy officials to figure out the affected areas. FIRs would be lodged against the encroachers. No encroachments would be allowed to come up in green belt areas and government land. They would be removed,” District Magistrate R Ramesh Kumar had said in a press statement last week.

In yet another example of glaring neglect of the green belt, massive areas along Kanawni Canal behind Vasundhara holds over a dozen of such permanent religious structures.

“We have informed the administration about the activity and sent regular correspondence for provision of police force for demolition activity,” said Prem Chand, Executive Engineer of the Irrigation Department.

With no action coming against such structures, people were forced to file petitions for action.

“Hundreds of trees have vanished from Kanawni-canal area but there was no action from the administration. We have filed a petition with the Central Empowerment Committee (CEC) of the Supreme Court against these encroachments. It is sad to see such condition of green areas,” said Vijaypal Baghel, an environment activist.

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