Ghaziabad: Anti-encroachment drive near ponds intensified
The district has 703 ponds free from encroachment. The number stood at 689 earliernoida Updated: Jun 04, 2017 00:28 IST
The Ghaziabad district administration has intensified its drive to remove encroachment from ponds and water bodies. Officials said they have drawn up a plan for removal of encroachment from water bodies with the help of civil police and will also erect boards at the spot to indicate the status of the freed-up ponds.
According to officials, the district has total of 703 ponds free from encroachment. These include 133 in Ghaziabad, 469 in Modi Nagar and 101 in Loni tehsils. The area of total ponds free from encroachment is around 383 hectares. This includes 63.5 hectares in Ghaziabad, 274.65 hectares in Modi Nagar and around 45.37 hectares in Loni.
“The drive against encroachment has been intensified. As a result, we have a total of 703 ponds in the district that are free of encroachment, as opposed to the 689 ponds earlier,” said Prem Ranjan Singh, joint magistrate and nodal officer for the drive.
The administration has intensified its efforts due to falling groundwater and also due to the directions by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on petition filed by Ghaziabad resident Sushil Raghav.
In their affidavit submitted before the tribunal during the recent hearing, the Ghaziabad municipal corporation submitted a list of 20 ponds occupied by government agencies such as the corporation itself, the Ghaziabad development authority (GDA) and the UP state industrial development corporation. Over the years, authorities have built residential colonies, water tanks, community centres, storehouses and tubewells on land belonging to water bodies in the corporation’s jurisdiction.
“It has already been decided in a meeting of officials that land equivalent to the area encroached upon by agencies will be given elsewhere and they will dug up new ponds in lieu of the encroached ones. In this regard, GDA has already given seven hectares in lieu of the six hectares that was encroached upon,” Singh said.
However, petitioner Raghav said the administration should free up encroachments from ponds wherever possible.
“Efforts should be made to remove encroachments from ponds wherever possible. In case agencies propose giving new land to dig fresh ponds, the area should not be far from the old pond. This will help in groundwater recharge too. If the land is given far away, it will not serve any purpose,” he added.
“The drive will have to be intensified further as ponds freed up will get rainwater and help recharge groundwater. We also have major encroachment in the lake at Arthala where residential settlements have come up. Revival of the Pakka Talab at Ramte Ram Road is also a major issue,” he said.