The Ghaziabad district magistrate (DM) has issued directions to the Ghaziabad development authority and the municipal corporation to take precautionary measures before undertaking an anti-encroachment drive. The order has been issued to avoid violence during such drives.
The directions came after a clash in Mathura where two policemen were killed by a violent mob in Jawahar Bagh during an anti- encroachment drive on June 2. The incident claimed 24 lives. The police team was allegedly ill-prepared and was attacked by encroachers.
“I have told the agencies to depute a magistrate and also clearly demarcate and identify the encroached area before starting any drive. The agencies have been told to clearly identify the encroachment area and mark it with a red paint at least a week before the drive. They should also inform people about the drive through newspapers. Public announcements should also be made beforehand,” said DM Vimal Kumar Sharma.
“The agencies should also prepare a list of encroachers with their names, addresses and the type of encroachment carried out by them. The magistrate should be able to read all this before undertaking any drive,” Sharma said.
A number of areas in Ghaziabad have been encroached upon for setting up shops, shanties, kiosks etc. Floodplains of river Hindon near Vijay Nagar and near Chijarsi in Gautam Budh Nagar have also been encroached upon for residential purposes.
During an anti-encroachment drive carried out on the Hindon flood zone in September 2009, the encroachers protested and blocked NH-24 for nearly 10 hours. They also burnt and damaged many public vehicles on the highway.
“The problem is that officials are aware of encroachments. It is evident that they are hand in glove with encroachers. If the departments want, they can remove the encroachers, but we rarely see such drives.
The Hindon floodplains are worst affected by encroachment,” said Akash Vashistha, an environment activist who has filed a petition with National Green Tribunal over the encroachment of the Hindon floodplain.