A piece of government paper altered for worse the lives of three children, wife and aged parents of a 35-year-old labourer on Monday. They now live in fear of losing their Murad Nagar house to the Ghaziabad development authority (GDA).
On Monday, Sujit Singh, the only earning member of the family, allegedly committed suicide after falling into depression over repeated notices from the GDA that their small tenement in Jatav Basti was an encroachment on the green belt and had to be demolished.
Officials said the notice was sent in compliance with the orders of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for removal of encroachments from green belts in Ghaziabad.
Singh’s mother said her son was fearful of losing their house after the demolition notice reached him in December.
Officials maintain that the houses there have come up on a green belt adjacent to the erstwhile NH-58.
“My son was constantly worried about the future? About where we would go if the house was demolished… He was the only working member in our family and he earned Rs 5000 to Rs 6000 per month. He was worried about the notices and would often tell me that he built the house after saving a little bit of money. We installed a water tank and concreted the walls a year ago. First, we got a notice to vacate the house and, later, we got a demolition notice,” said Raj Bala, Sujit’s mother.
“I was worried he might do something untoward as he was anxious and fearful since the notices started coming. I used to console him every time. He hanged himself to a hook in the afternoon a couple of days ago. We have been living here for decades. I don’t know what will happen now and how we will bring up his three children and look after his wife,” she said.
Station house officer Haridayal Yadav said the villagers tried to hold a protest after the suicide but they were pacified by officials.
“The suicide may be due to some other reasons as well. Since a number of notices were issued in the locality, the locals may be trying to rake up the issue and project it as a fallout of the demolition notices,” Yadav said.
The GDA officials said they have served notices to encroachers on green belts in several locations, including Raj Nagar Extension to Murad Nagar, Prahlad Garhi to UP Gate and Crossings Republik to Masuri.
“In case we receive replies and it is found that constructions were made previously when the green belts were not declared under the present Master Plan (2021), the notices will be revoked. These constructions were to be removed by March 31 but police and PAC personnel were not available due to election duties and later due to festivals,” said Dayanand Prasad, officer on special duty, GDA.
In its survey, the authority officials said they had served notices on permanent constructions in green belts. On the land owned by private parties, notices were served in 680 cases.
The entire exercise came after NGT’s directions on a petition filed by Society for Protection of Environment and Biodiversity, which had sought the removal of encroachments and restoration of green belts in Ghaziabad.