The district administration of the Gautam Budh Nagar on Saturday said a four-member committee will locate 482 acres of ‘missing’ air force land over the Yamuna floodplains by March 15.
The air force on November 26, 1950, had acquired floodplains under its Tilpat firing and bombing range located in Faridabad and some villages of the then Bulandshahr district. When the air force stopped using this floodplain, now under the Noida jurisdiction, farmers started agricultural activities. Later, the land mafia grabbed the land and constructed farmhouses.
“We have already located around 20 acres of Yamuna floodplain that is owned by the air force. The remaining land will be located by March 15,” said NP Singh, district magistrate (DM) of Gautam Budh Nagar.
“It was not easy to locate floodplains that belonged to the air force since records are not available. We are taking help from pillars that were put on the bombing range periphery in 1950 when it was built. We have found that around 60 farmhouses covering a large area have been built on the air force land,” said Singh.
To locate the ‘missing’ map and records of the floodplains, the Allahabad high court on May 19 last year had formed a committee comprising representatives of the commanding officer (Hindon air force station), defence estate officer (DEO) of the same area, director (Survey of India) in Lucknow and DM of Gautam Budh Nagar.
On Monday, the committee will also hear arguments from those who have built farmhouses on the floodplains that the air force says belong to it.
A division bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Yashwant Varma had formed the committee following a petition filed by a Noida-based social activist Ajit Singh.
The petitioner in July 2015 had alleged that the land mafia has encroached upon the floodplain that was reserved for a bombing range since 1950. The same land mafia has now constructed farmhouses, thereby damaging the fragile ecology of the floodplains, the petitioner said.
“The air force wants to develop a thick forest on the floodplains once it is located and freed. We will be able to locate 482 acres of floodplains. We will send the report to the Allahabad High Court to take a final decision,” the DM said.