Sun sets on Akbar Nagar, new dawn awaits Kukrail in Lucknow - Hindustan Times
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Sun sets on Akbar Nagar, new dawn awaits Kukrail in Lucknow

By, Lucknow
Jun 19, 2024 09:46 PM IST

The Akbar Nagar site, which had over 1,800 establishments, both private and commercial, and used to be buzzing with residents and heavy security forces till Tuesday, now lays deserted

Akbar Nagar, spread over nearly 25 acres and situated between the barrage on Faizabad Road and Kukrail river, was finally buried in the pages of history with the month-long and biggest anti-encroachment exercise that Lucknow ever saw, coming to an end.

Illegal constructions in Akbar Nagar razed, in Lucknow, on Wednesday. (HT Photo)
Illegal constructions in Akbar Nagar razed, in Lucknow, on Wednesday. (HT Photo)

It was a saga of tears with thousands of people losing their homes, but new hope arose as they were relocated to PM Awas Yojna in Vasant Kunj.

The Akbar Nagar site, which had over 1,800 establishments, both private and commercial, and used to be buzzing with residents and heavy security forces till Tuesday, now lays deserted with just mounds of debris dotting the area.

Legal battles and more

Demolition began in December 2023 but was halted due to the Allahabad high court’s order and then due to the model code of conduct coming into effect.

Efforts to revive the Kukrail river first began with a survey being conducted in 2023 after CM Yogi Adityanath instructed that it be turned into a hub of eco-tourism. “During the survey, a large number of illegal constructions on the banks of the river came to the fore,” said a press note from the government. In December 2023, the Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) began removing illegal constructions by razing mostly commercial establishments on both sides of the river. Residents moved the Allahabad high court, which issued a stay until March 4, 2024.

On March 6, the HC allowed the demolition to proceed but ordered the LDA to offer easy installment options to displaced residents. Residents then appealed to the Supreme Court, which upheld the HC’s decision in May.

On March 10, a rumour on social media fearing five to six people being trapped in debris started sparking outrage among locals who then pelted stones at authorities and broke the barriers. The day after, over 100 people were booked.

After a three-month hiatus due to the Lok Sabha elections, the demolition drive resumed on June 10 (Monday), and intensified as nearly 30 heavy earth movers along with security forces were deployed to bring down the constructions.

Demolition began in Phase-II of Akbar Nagar and moved to Phase I, finally ending on June 19.

Kukrail river- path to revival

With the demolition drive over, the government is now focusing on the all-round development of the area.

“Now, the riverfront will be developed. Dashauli village near Bakshi ka Talab is considered to be the Kukrail River’s origin, so it will be developed from there. Also, the area will be beautified by interlinking all the ponds present in the area,” government press note read.

Multiple depts involved

“Many other projects will be given a concrete shape under the urban development department along with many other departments. The layout plan of these projects is being prepared and they will be announced soon after the approval by CM Yogi,” the statement read.

The statement further read that the Yogi government is going to make the Kukrail forest area a hub of eco-tourism.

The country’s first night safari is going to be developed here. The areas to be developed on the theme of Indian Walking Trail, Indian Foothill, Indian Wetland, Arid India and African Wetland will be the main attractions of the night safari area.

“Animals of 54 species will be kept in 42 enclosures in the night safari. Tourists will visit the Night Safari Park through a 5.5 km tramway and a 1.92 km walkway. Asiatic Lion, gharial, Bengal Tiger, flying squirrel, leopards, hyena etc. will be the centre of attraction at the night safari. Beautiful parks will be developed on both sides of the Kukrail river. There will also be adventure activities,” the press note read.

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