Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation board offers last ‘city forest’ to GDA despite opposition
The move comes after GDA vice-chairperson Kanchan Verma on June 20 sent a letter to the municipal corporation for the development of a major park over 28 acre of land adjacent to GT Road, behind the stadium.noida Updated: Jul 10, 2017 23:34 IST
The Ghaziabad municipal corporation has finally decided to hand over a patch of 28 acres of prime land behind the Mahamaya Stadium to the Ghaziabad development authority (GDA) for development of a major park. However, the decision was cleared by the corporation board on Monday with certain conditions.
The move comes after GDA vice-chairperson Kanchan Verma on June 20 sent a letter to the municipal corporation for the development of a major park over 28 acre of land adjacent to GT Road, behind the stadium. The land is designated as city forest under the Master Plan. There have been previous attempts by the authority to procure the prime land from the corporation as it is in the vicinity of an under-construction mall and also the New Bus Stand metro station.
“The board has decided to hand over the land to GDA not for a park but for development as forest area as designated under the Master Plan. The ownership will always rest with the corporation and MoU of terms and conditions will have to be signed first. Before the MoU, the GDA will also have to sign the MoU for 100 acre city forest (near Karhera) which they took up from corporation in 2014 and have not signed the MoU till date,” said Ashu Verma, mayor.
The two ‘city forests’ at Karhera near Hindon airbase and the other behind Mahamaya Stadium serve as green ‘lungs’ to the city environment.
“There will be no park but a forest area which should be developed here. Any income generated from the facility will be shareable and GDA will have to concretize the nearby drain and also construct sewage treatment plant (STP) as directed by the high court,” the Mayor added.
The overflowing drain which passes through the city forest area destroyed thousands of green trees in 2008. Thereafter councillor Rajendra Tyagi had moved the high court and the court’s directions in 2012 came to concrete the drain and construction of the STP.
The board members on Monday said the MoU should be a precondition before the land is handed over for development to GDA else there is a possibility that the developed area may go to private developers.
The proposal was cleared despite a lot of opposition by the senior councillors.
“The GDA is eyeing the land for long and it should not be handed over. The past experience shows that the GDA has taken land belonging to the corporation and have not paid for it,” said Babu Singh Arya, another councillor.
In 2012, there were attempts by the GDA to develop a golf course on the land and it had to shelve the plan after its decision came under fire from environmentalists. “We still do not agree to the land being handed over to the GDA. Why can’t the corporation plant trees and restore the area as it was in 2008?” said Rajiv Bhati, another councillor.
“The conditions are a must in the MoU. Otherwise, the authority may indulge in commercial activities and, slowly, the land will be handed over to private players who are developing malls and other facilities nearby. There will be no park and only a forest area over the land,” Tyagi added.