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After row over land, Kailash Mansarovar pilgrim’s centre site shifted to Indirapuram

The Ghaziabad municipal corporation had maintained that the land for the Kailash Mansarovar centre in Arthala was banjar (barren) and could be used for the purpose of construction. However, some land records showed that it was a lake.

noida Updated: Aug 29, 2017 22:37 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times
Kailash Mansarovar pilgrim centre,Ghaziabad pilgrims centre,Kanwar yatra
The arrangements for a function to lay the foundation stone of a Kailash Mansarovar pilgrim’s centre at Arthala in Ghaziabad were dismantled on Tuesday after the UP government decided to shift the project site to Indirapuram after a row over the land.(Sakib Ali/HT Photo)

In a last minute decision, the Uttar Pradesh government decided to change the site meant for construction of its first Kailash Mansarovar pilgrim centre from Arthala in Ghaziabad to Indirapuram.

On late Tuesday night, CM office, government of UP @CMOfficeUP, tweeted, “a decision has been taken to construct Kailash Mansarovar building on land belonging to GDA under Indirapuram scheme”.

The decision was taken on Tuesday, two days before UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath is scheduled to lay the foundation stone of the ambitious project at Arthala; and a day after Hindustan Times reported that environmentalists have challenged the government over allocation of land of a water body for the construction of the project.

The project courted controversy after a major land chunk assigned to it was found to be registered as jheel (lake) in Fasli 1360 (Roman Calendar year 1953) revenue records. Rules mandate that the land use of water bodies cannot be changed for any other purpose. The Ghaziabad municipal corporation had maintained that the land for developing the Kailash Mansarovar centre was banjar (barren) and could be used for the purpose of construction.

In a detailed report published on Tuesday, in the Hindustan Times highlighted the issue about the contrasting land uses of Khasra number 1330 — a major land chunk proposed under the pilgrim centre construction plan.

Hindustan Times approached the district administration on Monday with documents which were filed in their complaint by environmentalists Sushil Raghav and Akash Vashishtha. Both had been instrumental in taking up environment issues and contesting several cases against UP authorities at the National Green Tribunal.

After the Fasli 1360 records found the land chunk as jheel, the officials tried to search the base record of Fasli 1359 in order to know the exact nature of the land involved.

“There is no mala fide intention by anybody. From 1994, the property register of the corporation shows the land as banjar. Our officials checked up prior records and the land chunk was shown as ‘Jheel.’ It was sometimes later during 1953 to 1956 that the land was shown as converted to banjar. Under what circumstances it was changed, is yet to be known. But, we are very clear about the directions by Supreme Court regarding the water bodies,” said Ministhy S, district magistrate, Ghaziabad.

“Now, the pilgrim centre will not be constructed at Arthala due to issues which have come to light in connection with the land. Since the pilgrim centre was proposed on several land chunks and the land parcel in question forms the majority area,” the DM said.

“Thus, we have decided not to go ahead with proposed centre at the land as we could not tweak the proposed construction plan. Even though it was a municipal corporation property, we decided not to go ahead,” she said.

Immediately, the top officials of the UP government were informed about the issue and a direction was received to scout for land which is free from encumbrances.

The Ghaziabad development authority was pitched in for making the land available and they proposed two sites at Indirapuram and Madhubhan Bapudham for the proposed centre. Final directions from the state officials were awaited till Tuesday evening.

It is likely that the state government will finalise the land at Indirapuram as its land use is already meant for ‘community purposes.’ The proposed ‘Kailash Mansarovar’ centre was to come up on nearly 8,125 square metre of land in Arthala village.

UP CM Yogi Adityanath was scheduled to reach there on August 31 for laying the foundation stone. Days after he was sworn in as CM, Yogi had expressed willingness to get the facility constructed at Lucknow, Ghaziabad or Noida. A site at Arthala, near the Haj House, had been proposed to the CM by Ghaziabad Mayor Ashu Verma and several MLAs.

First Published: Aug 29, 2017 22:37 IST