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32 people under Ghaziabad administration scanner for land grab

Ahead of the 2017 polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had promised to crack down on land mafia and it started the drive soon after chief minister Yogi Adityanath assumed office.

noida Updated: Sep 18, 2017 22:51 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times
Ghaziabad administration,land grab,Bharatiya Janata Party
Officials have been asked to pick pace as only 131 hectares of 603 hectares of the encroached land has been freed till now.(HT File)

In the first phase of its ‘anti-land mafia’ initiative, the Ghaziabad administration has identified and booked 32 persons under the Goonda Act for being a part of the land mafia involved in 17 cases of grabbing public and private land across the district.

However, activists say this is just the tip of the iceberg and the administration is yet to get its hands on the bigger fish.

Ahead of the 2017 polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had promised to crack down on land mafia and it started the drive soon after chief minister Yogi Adityanath assumed office.

The first phase of the drive will end on September 30. Officials have been asked to pick pace as only 131 hectares of 603 hectares of the encroached land has been freed till now.

“Nearly 130 FIRs and 1,369 revenue cases have been lodged against different persons. The persons identified are habitual offenders and have encroached much private and government land,” said Gynendra Singh, additional district magistrate.

In a related development, the revenue board has asked all lekhpals (grassroot-level officials) and revenue inspectors to physically verify the status of land at gram sabha-level and upload this status on the ‘Bhulekh’ portal.

Seventeen instances of land grabbing have been uncovered at Vijay Nagar, Murad Nagar and Loni areas; only one instance of grabbing government land, of 7,084 square metre, came to the fore.

Activists, however, claim the land mafia has grabbed a lot more government land in Ghaziabad, where land prices are high. They have developed residential settlements and sold them off in the past decade, activists claim.

Explaining the mafia’s modus operandi, councillor Rajendra Tyagi said, “The land mafia purchase small pieces of land from farmers near government land. They then capture the government land as well and sell it to different people. However, the registries made to different people are of the same khasra number as the farmer’s. In the past 20-30 years, the mafia have encroached on a lot of government land, sold it and fled.”

“Under the anti-land mafia campaign, the officials must identify all land grabbers and the officials who helped them,” Tyagi said.

“We are in the process of identifying more land mafia,” said Ghaziabad district magistrate Ritu Maheshwari.

Officials said that vis-a-vis the encroached public land that has been colonised they have written to the state government to either regularise them or a develop rehabilitation policy.

First Published: Sep 18, 2017 22:50 IST