Ghaziabad: Anti-encroachment drive near ponds intensified

The district has 703 ponds free from encroachment. The number stood at 689 earlier

Noida : Jun 04, 2017 , Hindustan Times/Ghaziabad

Water bodies and ponds are encroached upon by various agencies, including government authorities, in Ghaziabad

The Ghaziabad district administration has intensified its drive to remove encroachment from ponds and water bodies. Officials said they have drawn up a plan for removal of encroachment from water bodies with the help of civil police and will also erect boards at the spot to indicate the status of the freed-up ponds.

According to officials, the district has total of 703 ponds free from encroachment. These include 133 in Ghaziabad, 469 in Modi Nagar and 101 in Loni tehsils. The area of total ponds free from encroachment is around 383 hectares. This includes 63.5 hectares in Ghaziabad, 274.65 hectares in Modi Nagar and around 45.37 hectares in Loni.

“The drive against encroachment has been intensified. As a result, we have a total of 703 ponds in the district that are free of encroachment, as opposed to the 689 ponds earlier,” said Prem Ranjan Singh, joint magistrate and nodal officer for the drive.

The administration has intensified its efforts due to falling groundwater and also due to the directions by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on petition filed by Ghaziabad resident Sushil Raghav.

In their affidavit submitted before the tribunal during the recent hearing, the Ghaziabad municipal corporation submitted a list of 20 ponds occupied by government agencies such as the corporation itself, the Ghaziabad development authority (GDA) and the UP state industrial development corporation. Over the years, authorities have built residential colonies, water tanks, community centres, storehouses and tubewells on land belonging to water bodies in the corporation’s jurisdiction.

“It has already been decided in a meeting of officials that land equivalent to the area encroached upon by agencies will be given elsewhere and they will dug up new ponds in lieu of the encroached ones. In this regard, GDA has already given seven hectares in lieu of the six hectares that was encroached upon,” Singh said.

However, petitioner Raghav said the administration should free up encroachments from ponds wherever possible.

“Efforts should be made to remove encroachments from ponds wherever possible. In case agencies propose giving new land to dig fresh ponds, the area should not be far from the old pond. This will help in groundwater recharge too. If the land is given far away, it will not serve any purpose,” he added.

“The drive will have to be intensified further as ponds freed up will get rainwater and help recharge groundwater. We also have major encroachment in the lake at Arthala where residential settlements have come up. Revival of the Pakka Talab at Ramte Ram Road is also a major issue,” he said.

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Gurgaon: Sudden route diversion results in traffic chaos at Signature Tower

Traffic from Huda City Centre and Maharana Pratap Chowk diverted to enable construction of underpass.

Gurgaon : Jun 06, 2017, Hindustan Times

Route diversions near Signature Tower led to a lengthy traffic jam on Monday

Traffic on Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway moved at snail’s pace on Monday as sudden route diversions at Signature Tower caught the commuters unawares. Straight movement at the chowk was blocked without any mandatory signs. The routes from Huda City Centre and from Maharana Pratap Chowk were diverted on Sunday without any prior advisory and intimation and will remain shut for next three months to enable the construction of an underpass.

Motorists coming from Huda City Centre and heading towards Atul Kataria Chowk or looking to turn right at Signature Tower towards Iffco Chowk ran into a massive snarl on this road as the traffic heading straight were forced to divert to alternative routes. The big tin shades were placed as barriers forcing stranded vehicles to turn left and travel one kilometre ahead through bumper-to-bumper traffic before taking a U-turn from the heavily congested cattle crossing in Sector 31.

The traffic that had to turn left as mandated by the route diversions and the vehicles on Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway that take exit number seven near Star Mall led to a choc-a-block melee on the service lane causing a lengthy traffic jam on the main carriageway and service lane during the rush hour on Monday.

Signature Tower is arguably the busiest arterial stretch of the city which records a heavy volume of traffic everyday.

“Traffic advisory is a mandatory part of road engineering and management and the traffic police and administration should have deployed personnel and adequate number of marshals at all these points during the rush hour to ensure smooth traffic movement. The traffic jam and the hassle for commuters because of it indicate sheer lack of effort from the authorities to enable smooth traffic movement without hampering the ongoing work on the underpass,” RK Chaudhary, a senior official of a semi-government firm and a resident of Ardee City, said.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is in the process of building underpasses and flyovers at Rajiv Chowk, Signature Tower and Iffco Chowk. The road leading from Huda City Centre to Atul Kataria Chowk via Signature Tower is also being widened. The road authority assigned the job to Gawar Construction Limited.

 “It took me 45 minutes to reach the Fortis Hospital at Iffco Chowk, which is barely two kilometres away from the Signature Tower. It was only after I struggled through end-to-end traffic and reached Signature Tower that I realised that the vehicles heading straight had been told to divert. It is the responsibility of the traffic police to put up road signs at all important locations so that the motorists could be aware of the diversions,” a commuter said.

Balbir Singh, deputy commissioner of police (DCP), traffic, Gurgaon, said, “We deployed cops at Exit 7 and at all places where we had announced diversions. We have asked Gawar Construction to put required signage as well.”