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Activists want green belts freed up

A whopping 94,000 sq metres of green belt is said to have been offered by the Ghazaiabd development authority to 13 educational institutions and many of these areas were later ‘merged’ with the premises of these institutions.

delhi Updated: Sep 02, 2018 03:18 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times, Ghaziabad
Green activists,Public parks,Green belts
BJP councillor Rajendra Tyagi said 94,000 sq metres of green belt was leased out to institutions at a mere Re 1 per sq m.(HT FILE PHOTO)

Activists from the city on Saturday said the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA), over the years, has leased out parks/green belts as playgrounds and some of these were later ‘merged’ with the premises of educational institutions.

Rajendra Tyagi, a BJP councillor, on Saturday held a press conference and made public documents of replies given to him by the authority.

He said nearly 94,000 square metres of green belt was offered by the authority to 13 educational institutions.

“The land was offered at a lease rate of Re 1 per square metre on the condition that institutions do not to raise any permanent construction beyond 2% of the area. However, over the years, the green belts/parks have been merged with the institutional land and constructions are rampant,” Tyagi said.

The lease was given on the basis of a February 1999 government order.

Last year, environmentalist Akash Vashistha, had filed a complaint with the GDA against one such institution in Raj Nagar and said it was being used exclusively by schoolchildren and was not open to others of the locality.

In response, the authority sent a written communication to the institution and directed it to allow children of the locality there for three hours.

Vashistha, in February, also raised the issue with the Prime Minister’s Office in a complaint filed on the centralised public grievance redressal and monitoring system.

“The reply from the ministry of youth affairs said the suggestion was noted and states have been requested to form playing field associations. It was requested that children be allowed to use the playgrounds of schools and colleges after school/college timings,” Vashistha said.

“However, with green belts merging with institutional premises, children of different localities have no access to playgrounds. This is much required for the development of sports. The city has insufficient sports facilities,” he said.

Tyagi has also raised the issue of the authority inviting bids to offer some of the facilities at Gandhi Nagar Cricket Stadium to private players.

“The authority has also proposed a cafeteria and restaurant at the stadium. But these will amount to commercial activities and are against the land use,” Tyagi said.

Tyagi and Vashishtha have forwarded a complaint to UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath.

The authority vice-chairperson Ritu Maheshwari said a thorough verification would be done and leases would be cancelled if institutions are found misusing land.

“The leases of around nine or 10 green belts were cancelled four or five months ago. Directions have been issued to the property wing to compile the list of properties on lease. The list will be drawn up soon,” she said.

“Nehru Park (Gandhi Nagar Cricket stadium) already has a badminton court, which is running on lease. We are leasing cricket facilities with fixed charges to residents so that the money can be used for maintenance,” she said.

First Published: Sep 02, 2018 03:18 IST