State govt tells Ghaziabad DM to expedite land transfer for Delhi-Meerut expressway
The Uttar Pradesh government has written to the Ghaziabad district magistrate to initiate proceedings as per decision taken by the state cabinet on November 19 in connection with the alleged land irregularities in four villages of Ghaziabad, which is affecting the work on phase 4 of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway (DME).
UP’s additional chief secretary (ACS) has also asked the district magistrate to take steps for handing over pending land within one month.
The issue relates to about 19 hecatres of land belonging to people in four villages of Dasna, Rasoolpur Sikrod, Kushaliya and Nahal. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is yet to get physical possession of the land. According to an inquiry conducted by then divisional commissioner Prabhat Kumar in 2017, it was revealed that several officials along with individuals were allegedly involved in sale/purchase of land after the notification of land acquisition was issued under section 3d of National Highways Act.
According to officials, the sale/purchase of land is not allowed after the issuance of notification. Kumar, in his inquiry report, had also put the role of two former district magistrates under scanner and had recommended that the state government should get an inquiry conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigation or any other specialised agency.
“...Physical possession of entire acquired land should be made available to NHAI within one month and the compensation amount decided after arbitration cases should be made available to farmers holding undisputed land while the amount of compensation on account of the disputed land should deposited with the court as per legal procedure,” ACS Renuka Kumar said in a written communication to the Ghaziabad district magistrate.
ACS Kumar has also directed the DM to initiate legal action for cancellation of sale deeds which were taken up after issue of notification under section 3d and take steps for recovery of amount received by the purchasers and initiate action against the officials/staff involved in the proceedings in question.
“It is also to be ensured that any sale/purchase or registries of land should not take place after issuance of notification under section 3d of the National Highways Act and if there are any Writs in such cases they should be countered by filing caveats,” the ACS further added.
Earlier on November 19, the UP cabinet had decided to cancel the sale deeds which were effected after the issuance of notification under the National Highways Act, 1956.
The ACS has also directed that fortnightly progress should be sent to the state administration so that the PMO can be appraised about the developments.
District magistrate Ajay Shankar Pandey declined comment and said that an official response will be provided by additional district magistrate (land acquisition).
“We have gone through the communication received from the ACS and working on all three points highlighted for taking steps into the matter. The amounts of disputed land will be referred to the court. There has been a timeline given in the letter and we will stick to it. The land will be handed over to NHAI,” said MS Garbyal, additional district magistrate.
The ACS has also directed to Ghaziabad officials that all the constructions and illegal occupation of land in question should be removed within 15 days.
During a ‘Pragati’ meeting on November 6, the Prime Minister had expressed concerns over the delays and revised the timeline of the project to May, 2020. The UP officials responded saying that the pending land will be handed over to NHAI within a month.