Authority fails to act against illegal farmhouses built on Yamuna floodplainUpdated: Jan 22, 2020 19:51 IST
Even six months after the Noida authority identified as many as 10 illegal farmhouses on the Yamuna floodplain, it is yet to seal or demolish them.
In July 2019, the authority conducted a survey to identify the total number of illegal farmhouses on the floodplain and decided to demolish these structures, which were built in violation of the rules set by the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The authority’s civil department had identified 10 farmhouses and submitted a report to its top officials. The authority had said it will start sealing and demolishing these farmhouses after completing the necessary legal formalities. But even after six months, the authority is yet to seal or demolish these structures.
According to authority officials, there are more than 1,000 such farmhouses located on the floodplain of Yamuna. The authority had started a fresh survey after the Uttar Pradesh solid waste management monitoring committee’s former chairman Justice DP Singh, on June 12, 2019, had directed the state government and the authority to demolish all illegal houses and define the area of the flood zone, where no construction should be allowed. During an inspection, the monitoring committee had found that the effluents were being dumped into the Yamuna.
“The owners of the farmhouses have built concrete structures on floodplain land. Some of these farmhouses have swimming pools, restaurants and other concrete structures, thereby damaging the flora and fauna of the river,” said the committee.
According to the UP government’s old survey, there were 319 illegal farmhouses occupying 124 hectares of the Yamuna floodplain in Noida, Gautam Budh Nagar district, till the end of 2012 end. After that several new structures have come up. On September 19, 2012, the chief secretary had directed the then district magistrate of Gautam Budh Nagar, MKS Sundaram, to demolish all illegally built farmhouses. On October 22, 2012, the then UP PWD minister had also ordered for the demolition of illegal farmhouses. However, both demolition and the sealing are yet to be carried out.
“As the floodplain area of 5,000 hectares is notified by the Noida authority, it should demolish these structures without any further delay. These illegal structures not only pollute the river but also contaminate the groundwater on a large scale. The NGT has asked for the removal of all kinds of encroachment from the Yamuna river several times. But no action has been taken so far,” said Akash Vashishtha, advocate and environmental activist.
Ritu Maheshwari, CEO, Noida authority, when asked about the agency’s failure to take action against these illegal structures, said, “We will look into this issue and take appropriate action as per the law.”