Ghaziabad officials attempt to revive ponds, to act against land mafia
Divisional commissioner Dr Prabhat Kumar visited Ghaziabad and took stock of the ponds and water bodies falling under the jurisdiction of the Ghaziabad municipal corporation. He was informed that 34 ponds were free from encroachments while some others were encroached upon.noida Updated: May 26, 2017 23:32 IST
The divisional commissioner (Meerut) on Friday directed Ghaziabad officials to book those who usurped land where water bodies existed under provisions of the Gangster Act.
Divisional commissioner Dr Prabhat Kumar visited Ghaziabad and took stock of the ponds and water bodies falling under the jurisdiction of the Ghaziabad municipal corporation. He was informed that 34 ponds were free from encroachments while some others were encroached upon.
“The commissioner ordered us to lodge cases in instances where land mafia has usurped the land belonging to ponds and sold them. Further, he ordered an immediate survey to find out the vacant, partially encroached and fully encroached ponds. After this, we have been asked to draw a plan for restoration of the water bodies. The entire exercise is to be conducted in three days,” Prem Ranjan Singh, joint magistrate and the nodal officer for ponds’ rejuvenation, said.
“We have also requested the officials of departments concerned to assist us. The ponds that are free will be covered with a boundary wall. We will also ensure groundwater recharge in these areas,” he said.
According to official statistics made available to HT last year, Ghaziabad district has a presence of 1,787 ponds and water bodies, spread over nearly 915.3 hectares. Of these, 175 water bodies, over 33.64 hectares, were found to be encroached upon.
As per the 2011 groundwater resource assessment, three of the four development blocks under Ghaziabad — Loni, Rajapur, Bhojpur — have been categorised as overexploited. The other block is Murad Nagar.
“FIRs should be lodged against private persons and also against the officials of departments who allowed development of colonies and facilities over ponds. Digging up fresh ponds at ambiguous locations will not serve any purpose as such water bodies will not be able to hold water,” Sushil Raghav, a resident who moved National Green Tribunal to preserve and restore ponds and water bodies in Ghaziabad, said.
“Officials, over the years, have basically failed to prevent encroachments and have not understood the importance of reviving ponds. Prime examples are the Arthala lake, which is encroached upon, and the ‘Pakka Talab’ at Ramte Ram Road, which has been running dry for years. There is massive groundwater depletion and hardly any measures are being taken up for its recharge,” he said.