Friday, February 17, 2012

News Article: Hindon: 200 acres rid of encroachment

Vandana Keelor, TNN Feb 16, 2012, 07.17AM IST

Tags: Land mafia|Hindon floodplain|Encroachments

NOIDA: The district administration cracked down hard on land mafia and freed nearly 200 acres encroached along the Hindon floodplains on Wednesday. The demolition drive, which was delayed by a day, saw the district administration officials, cops from eight police stations and PAC personnel participate in a joint operation with the Noida and Greater Noida authorities to clear the illegal occupation.

The land that was freed is a part of five villages falling in the flood zone. Starting from Kulesra village, the anti-encroachment drive culminated for the day at Kakrala village in phase-II of Noida. Though hundreds of villagers and local politicians protested the move, officials said the drive will carry on for the next few days until all unauthorized construction is cleared.

"The drive began at 11am and lasted nearly six hours. A dozen bulldozers razed to the ground small houses and boundary walls across an area measuring almost 3.5km," said a UP irrigation department official. "Scores of plots carved out by illegal colonizers were also cleared," he added.

As soon as the earthmovers started tearing down unauthorized structures, tension brewed and a huge crowd of nearly 400 villagers and owners of the properties protested the move. Many squatted on the road and shouted slogans against the administration threatening a more aggressive protest if the drive was not stopped immediately. "This drive is not fair as the properties are registered with the administration," claimed the "owner" of a property near Kulesra village. "We have valid documents to prove our ownership," said Mahipal Singh from Kakrala who claimed to have bought a plot of 100m for Rs 3,500 four years ago.

However, the district officials were unwilling to relent and maintained that "all construction under the flood zone in nine villages is in violation of the existing laws and would be removed". "Construction in such zones obstructs natural river flow hindering flood control measures, besides causing harm to the ecology and environment," said Gyanendra Singh, the SDM under whose supervision the drive was conducted. "Initially, the fresh illegal construction will be tackled and freed. The older encroachment will be dealt with later," Singh said. "The aim is to get hold of the land sharks and bring them to book," he said.

© 2012 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved

See the related article:
News Article: Illegal houses along Hindon to be razed

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