Bordering Delhi, Noida and Ghaziabad, Khoda — a massive illegal colony — has been a breeding ground for criminals.
Residents are forced to live in inhuman conditions here in the absence of basic amenities.
But the successive state governments in Uttar Pradesh could neither regularise — which would require demolition of illegal structures — the area, nor control crime.
Reason: Khoda — spread over in an area of 700 acres — has a population of about six lakh and, more importantly, 1.39 lakh voters.
Status quo means electoral benefits. After years of neglect, the previous (BSP) government announced a Rs 300-crore package to implement basic amenities in Khoda - but only in the run up to the assembly polls.Work on Khoda's "redevelopment" started but stopped immediately after the Samajwadi Party came to power in Uttar Pradesh in February this year.
The promise of development got Amarpal Sharma of the BSP elected MLA from Sahibabad assembly seat in Ghaziabad, which covers Khoda. But it didn't help the cause either. Transformers, sewer pipes, electricity wires could be find dumped here and there.
After Noida was planned in 1976, land acquisition started but officials spared Khoda village. As Noida gradually began to develop, the builder mafia eyed Khoda because of its location and set up illegal colonies.
To check the illegal growth, the Noida authority in the 1980s acquired 1,000 bighas of land in Khoda but could not take possession.
Land owners who accepted compensation from the authority went on to sell the same land, in patches, to the builder mafia in connivance with officials.
Khoda was "handed over" to the Ghaziabad administration despite its "location" in Noida.