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Will GDA make golf course on city forest?

It seems the Ghaziabad Development authority (GDA) officials are not sure whether their golf course project can be developed over the 81 acre land that has been slated under the ‘city-forest’ usage under their Master Plan, 2021.

india Updated: Sep 13, 2012 00:36 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal

It seems the Ghaziabad Development authority (GDA) officials are not sure whether their golf course project can be developed over the 81 acre land that has been slated under the ‘city-forest’ usage under their Master Plan, 2021.

In a press conference held at GDA on Wednesday, authority’s secretary, chief-engineer and town-planning department officials were faced with numerous about the golf course project being allowed on the forest area.

Heading the press conference, authority’s secretary, RK Singh said, “Whatever will be done, will follow the directives of the Master Plan.” The officials, however, didn’t reply in the affirmative, raising suspicions over the violation of the Master Plan.

GDA is presently going ahead with the R 20 crore golf course project over the 81 acre of municipal corporation land that consists of two patches of 49.5 and 31.5 acres each. A MoU was signed when municipal corporation board was not in place in June. The project is in a limbo as it is designated to be at a place which earlier had a dense forest cover.

The tree cover was under threat initially from an overflowing city drain that passes through the 200 acre city forest. This led to deforestation to make way. Hundreds of trees standing over the 31.5 acre patch and some over the 49.5 acre had to be felled. Since 2009, the entire 31.5 acre patch is now left with only 25-30 trees. Both the patches are now facing threat from the golf course project.

None of corporation officials, so far, have come forward to own the responsibility of the lost forest cover. Municipal commissioner, Jitendra Singh, said, “The trees have been affected by rampant rains and the overflowing drain. We are yet to make an assessment of the number of trees that have vanished so far.”

However, it is not the first time that the city forest area has been targeted for a project. During an infrastructure development committee meeting held in May, corporation had proposed a group housing project over the 37 acre land behind Mahamaya Stadium, which also included the 31.5 acre patch of the city forest. This proposal was cancelled due to insufficient funds. “Our group-housing proposal was turned down because land usage laws did not permit us to develop it over city forest area,” said the municipal-commissioner.

Presently, large patches of the 200 acre area have a dense tree cover and there were previous proposals in 2008-09, but the trees were a hindrance.