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Kailash Mansarovar pilgrim centre in Ghaziabad: Activists to move court for restoration of ‘jheel’

The issue cropped up days before UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath was slated to arrive in Ghaziabad for laying the foundation stone for the coveted project.

noida Updated: Aug 30, 2017 22:18 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times
Ghaziabad,court,Uttar Pradesh
Environmentalist Sushil Raghav and Akash Vashishtha had filed complaints with the district administration and claimed on the basis of Fasli 1360 revenue record that a major portion of the land, was marked as ‘jheel’.(Sakib Ali/HT Photo)

Environmentalists have hailed the decision of the Uttar Pradesh state officials to change the proposed site of ‘Kailash Mansarovar’ pilgrim centre from Arthala to Indirapuram.

The issue cropped up days before UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath was slated to arrive in Ghaziabad for laying the foundation stone for the coveted project.

Environmentalist Sushil Raghav and Akash Vashishtha had filed complaints with the district administration and claimed on the basis of Fasli 1360 revenue record that a major portion of the land, was marked as ‘jheel’ (water body).

The Ghaziabad municipal corporation had claimed that the land was registered as ‘banjar’ (barren) and had proposed it for the development of the pilgrim centre.

“It is appreciated that the government changed the proposed site at the last minute. That also saved the UP officials getting tangled in a litigation as we would have moved the court,” Raghav said.

“However, we will still move the court in order to get the land restored as a water body. We already have a case with the Natonal Green Tribunal for restoration of ponds and water bodies. We will now add this to the same application,” he said.

Raghav is contesting a case for restoration and revival of water bodies in Ghaziabad and the NGT’s directions have forced the authorities to remove encroachments and restore some ponds in the district.

“...the applicant is directed to file a reply giving details of such ponds, which according to them, is still under encroachment (sic),” the NGT said in its August 4 order in a petition filed by Raghav.

“The land was shown barren in some records from the 1960s. There is no embarrassment for us and we have proposed a new site. Now, more previous records have come to light. If there is any negligence, we will inquire and take action,” said Suresh Khanna, UP’s urban development minister.

The officials of the Ghaziabad district administration scanned the Fasli 1360 record and even Fasli 1358 record and found that the land chunk was registered as a water body. According to norms, and the directions by the Supreme Court, the nature of such land cannot be changed.

“The Haj House nearby the proposed site has met the same fate and stands locked as the case is presently being heard by the NGT. The decision to shift the site has come from the higher authorities and is a welcome step. UP CM is always concerned about protecting the environment. We hope he will take up more similar issues and be proactive in preserving the environment,” said Vashishtha, who is also a petitioner to the Haj House case.

The members of Hindon Jal Biradiri also hailed the swift decision by the UP officials.

“Their prompt action shows their sensitivity towards environmental issues. Their timely action also saved the project from falling into legal issues later on,” said Vikrant Sharma, environmentalist.

First Published: Aug 30, 2017 22:18 IST