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Hindon floodplains a favourite housing destination for migrants

Thousands of houses have come up near Vijay Nagar, Chijarsi, NH-24 and also at Kanawani, behind the prime locality of Indirapuram in city. Touts sell ‘registered’ one-room houses for ₹2 lakh, complete with power connection

noida Updated: Feb 17, 2018 23:05 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times
Hindon river,Hindon pollution,Hindon encroachment
Construction goes on in full swing on the floodplain as tankers release sewage into river Hindon in Ghaziabad city.(Sakib Ali/HT Photo)

Rehmat Ali from Gonda in Uttar Pradesh has found a house in Ghaziabad. His house, however, is located on the banks of river Hindon near Vijay Nagar. He is among the thousands of migrants who have purchased a house on the floodplain of the river and the activity has continued unabated for over a decade.

“The single-room houses near the river stream are available for ₹2 lakh for 50 square metres. Once you move away from the river, the rates go up to ₹5 lakh to ₹15 lakh for 50 square metres. Everything has a price here, local touts and property dealers will ease everything for you. They will help you get electricity connections and even get the plot registered,” Ali, who works in a factory in nearby Gautam Budh Nagar, said.

Most of the occupants on the floodplain are from eastern UP and Bihar, among other states, who have settled here for earning their livelihood in nearby districts of Noida and Ghaziabad as both are industrial hubs.

Another resident Bhavishya Raj said, “We came here four years back and have our own house near the river (Hindon). Then we got an electricity connection as well. However, for disposal of sewage, we have to dig up pits and the entire sewage and waste water flows into it. The submersible pumps have also been bored, but the water is not fit for drinking. We have to use the 20-litre bottles of packaged drinking water; this is a flourishing business and is supplied each day by vendors.”

The sewage from the underground pits is collected through tankers, and is emptied directly into the river stream, which is now shrinking and has almost reduced to a large drain, in the district.

As permanent houses and other constructions mushroom and saturate the land along the river, ancillary activities such as supply of packaged water, schools, local markets and sewage collection through tankers, also flourish.

Thousands of houses have come up near Vijay Nagar, Chijarsi, NH-24 and also at Kanawani, behind the prime locality of Indirapuram.

The president of federation of association of apartment owners at Indirapuram, Alok Kumar, said, “Large tracts of river zone land behind Kanawani have been sold. Furthermore, activity to cut out plots continued unabated. Multi-storeyed houses have come up right under the nose of different departments that are supposed to curb such activities. There is no verification of people who are living on the floodplain and it potentially risks planned localities nearby.”

In March, 2010, the Uttar Pradesh chief secretary had issued notification to all authorities in the state, including the police department, to ensure that no construction activity is carried out in the floodplain zone, and those raised should be removed. Similar government orders were also issued on April 5, 2003, and earlier on May 18, 1995. However, these orders have failed to deliver the expected results.

A week back, Ghaziabad development authority vice-chairperson Ritu Maheshwari had ordered a survey in Kanawani by a team of enforcement officials. However, any enforcement activity is yet to start in the densely populated area.

“The concerned officer, who conducted the survey, has to proceed on leave. The other officers have been asked to take up the survey work in the meantime. The drive against the illegal constructions will be taken up soon,” Maheshwari added.

However, the encroachments have increased manifold and it will be a Herculean task for the authorities to act against encroachers. In September, 2009, the Ghaziabad agencies had made a move to evict encroachers near Vijay Nagar. Instead, they blocked the National Highway 24 for nearly 10 hours and set ablaze public and private vehicles on the highway. This led to hasty retreat of the teams which had gone for the drive.

Box: March, 2010 directions by UP government

Clear depiction of floodplain zones along rivers as ‘flood-affected areas’ in the Master Plan (for respective cities) and to prevent any constructions in these areas. These areas should be reserved as green zones

Ban all kinds of constructions in floodplain zones under zoning regulations of the cities concerned

No NOC will be granted, under the RBO Act, UP Urban Planning and Development Act, 1973, and the Industrial Development Act, 1973, to any kind of construction in the floodplain zone, and nor will the layout plans of such constructions be approved

Action to be taken by irrigation department to remove illegal constructions and notify the areas along canals under Section 55 of the Northern India Canal & Drainage Act, 1873

Effective use of UP Flood Emergency Powers Act by all district magistrates

People should remove illegal constructions on their own

Effective action would be taken against illegal constructors by the civic, industrial development authorities, and Nagar Palika Parishads concerned under applicable provisions of the various Acts

Effective action would be ensured by SSP/SPs of all districts through the police station officers to check illegal constructions in the floodplain zones

Strict compliance for removing illegal constructions as soon as they are built in floodplain areas that belong to the irrigation department

Strict, punitive action should be taken against officers/staff workers of departments concerned, after fixing their accountability. If they fail to take the expected action in the case of illegal constructions

People who have raised illegal constructions/encroachers should not be issues ration cards, electricity and water connections, etc. as well as other facilities provided by the state.

First Published: Feb 17, 2018 23:05 IST