Halt construction on Yamuna floodplains: High Court to Noida farmhouses
The court has also mandated the Noida authority to resolve the objections raised by farmhouse owners within 30 days, according to the law.
The Allahabad high court has ordered owners of farmhouses to halt further construction on land located in the Yamuna flood plain. In its order delivered on June 7, the court has also mandated the Noida authority, which has already demolished at least 32 farmhouses and issued a warning to others about the risks of building on the river bed, to resolve the objections raised by farmhouse owners within 30 days, according to the law.
The order said that the petitioners could raise any objectionable grounds, including questioning the Noida authority’s competence to order demolition. The ruling noted that the petitioners would not continue construction on the flood plains and further directed that the appropriate decision by the authority should be taken within 30 days of the certified copy of the court order and that until a decision is reached, no further demolition is permitted per the June 8, 2022, notice. Petitioners have three weeks to file objections, said the order, delivered by a bench of justice Ajit Kumar and justice Vikas Budhwar.
The owners of at least 100 farmhouses filed a writ in the Allahabad high court after the Noida authority issued a public notice on June 8, 2022, saying that farmhouses built on the Yamuna River flood plains were illegal and due for demolition per multiple directives from the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
The advocate of Vijay Kher, a farmhouse owner and one of the petitioners, said that “not only objections have been filed to the notice (public), but even the land in question has not been acquired by the Noida authority to prohibit petitioners from building. It is also argued that pending objection before the competent authority, propriety demanded that any demolition ought to have been carried out only after the decision was taken by the authority.”
The advocate for the Noida authority said the petitioners’ objections would be dealt with according to the law. Following the high court’s decision, farmhouse owners can now file objections to the demolition notice, and the authority must resolve these objections within 30 days.
“We will process the applications of the farmhouse owners once submitted, as we have done in the past,” said a Noida authority official.
According to officials, approximately 2,000 farmhouses have been illegally built on the Yamuna flood plains.
“It will be open for the petitioners to raise all such grounds as may be available to them or may be advised including the ground regarding competence of the authority in issuing orders for demolition over and above the land in question. It is given to understand that the petitioners shall also not be raising any further construction over the land in question. The appropriate decision shall be taken by the authority within a period of 30 days of production of certified copy of this order. It is also hereby provided that until the decision is taken by the authority competent in the matter, no further demolition exercise shall be carried out pursuant to the notice issued on 08.06.2022. It will remain open for the petitioners to file objection within a period of three weeks from today,” said the order.
The Noida authority sporadically carries out demolition drives against illegal farmhouses. Despite this, the sale of farmhouse plots on the Yamuna River, flowing between Delhi and Noida, continues unabated. Authority officials said that hundreds of farmhouse owners had built permanent houses, banquet falls, clubs and other commercial structures on the Yamuna floodplain, causing ecological damage.
Akash Vashishtha, an environmentalist, said, “The Noida authority should eradicate all illegal constructions in Yamuna’s flood zone because farmhouse owners are dumping their waste into the river and destroying its flora-fauna, leading to the slow death of the river. Why is the authority not demolishing all illegal constructions despite multiple directives from the National Green Tribunal?”