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Kailash Mansarovar centre: Ghaziabad officials go into late night huddle to figure out land usage

Site marked for Kailash Mansarovar centre in Arthala listed as water body in land records, but Gzb civic body claims it is just ‘barren land’

noida Updated: Aug 29, 2017 23:38 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times
Kailash Mansarovar pilgrim centre,Ghaziabad pilgrims centre,Kanwar yatra
The site proposed for Kailash Mansarovar pilgrim centre in Arthala, Ghaziabad. The government is now scouting for a new site.(Sakib Ali/HT Photo)

On Tuesday, the state officials directed the Ghaziabad administration that the ‘Kailash Mansarovar’ pilgrim centre will not come up at the proposed site in Arthala near GT Road.

The land was proposed to construct the complex days after UP chief minister assumed office in March and said a pilgrim centre will come up in Lucknow, Ghaziabad or Noida.

All deliberations were finalised for the proposed site — a 8,125 square metre plot belonging to Arthala village.

The major issue cropped up after Hindustan Times on Monday reported on the complaints lodged by environmentalist Sushil Raghav and Akash Vashishtha who said that the a major chunk of the plot, Khasra number 1330, was a water body and its land use cannot be altered.

The municipal corporation, on the other hand, claimed that the land was ‘banjar’ (barren), as per its property records, and could be used for construction of the pilgrim centre.

Since Monday morning, a team of district officials were trying to trace the base title record. “We checked the Fasli 1360 record and found the land chunk as ‘jheel’ (waterbody). We could not access 1359 record as it is under the custody of the court. We also checked 1358 Fasli record and the land was listed as jheel in that too. It is from the 1365 Fasli that the land is shown as ‘banjar’. Later, it was also given under lease for different purposes. This has to be inquired,” said Prem Ranjan Singh, joint magistrate.

“The environmentalists had claimed that the land was as water body as per the Fasli 1360 records. On Monday night, an urgent meeting of all top district administration officials was called to discuss the issue,” he added.

Some officials put forward the proposal to go ahead with the site at Arthala while others objected to it, saying that the decision might put the UP officials, particularly the chief minister, in an embarrassing situation if any legal issue cropped up.

The matter was conveyed to Avnish Awasthi, principal secretary (information), and Mrityunjaya Narayan, secretary to the CM. A direction later arrived to scout for new land on war footing.

“We took a decision to apprise state officials because the land chunk could have posed legal issues and going ahead with the construction would have also violated the Supreme Court directions. Going ahead with the laying of the foundation stone would have also created a controversy for the CM,” said Ministhy S, district magistrate, Ghaziabad.

Late night, the officials from Ghaziabad development authority came up with proposals for a new site at Indirapuram or at Madhuban Bapudham.

According to authority sources, the site in Indirapuram is a 11,000 square metre plot valued at around Rs 55 crore. The other proposed site in Madhuban Bapudham is a 10,000 square metre plot valued at Rs 22 crore.

On Tuesday, the officials cancelled the original site in Arthala and all arrangements at the site for laying the foundation stone was dismantled. CM Yogi is scheduled to arrive in Ghaziabad on August 31 and was supposed to lay the stone that day.

“The foundation stone laying ceremony will now be held at Kavi Nagar where the CM will also address a gathering,” Ministhy said.

Already, the ‘Ala Hazrat Haj House’ in Arthala is not operational and stands locked in the wake of a pending case before the National Green Tribunal. Environmentalists Sushil, Akash and others had moved against the Haj House construction claiming that it was constructed on the floodplains of river Hindon.

First Published: Aug 29, 2017 23:37 IST