Green tribunal seeks timebound plan on clearing encroachments near Hindon

Ghaziabad: 12 July, 2019 (Hindustan Times)                               

It was incumbent on the respondents to have first gone through the judgement and then proceed for it’s execution. We found the respondents have not even noted the area in question.

GHAZIABAD: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday directed the Ghaziabad district magistrate to file an affidavit about the removal of encroachments from several land chunks near the Hindon river, with a “time schedule action plan” for executing a tribunal judgment passed in September 2016.

In his original petition, on which the tribunal passed the September 2016 judgment, citybased environmentalist Sushil Raghav had contended for the freeing up and removal of encroachments on several land chunks, including those earmarked for a proposed bird sanctuary near the river. It also pleaded for the removal of pillars of the Hindon elevated road from land chunks and freeing water bodies up from encroachment. According to the petitioner, the land chunks also included the Arthala lake.

The tribunal on Wednesday during the hearing over the execution application filed by Raghav, took a strong view of alleged slow action in the execution of the Tribunal’s earlier order and directed the district magistrate to study the 2016 judgment, and come out specifically by the way of an affidavit as to what all compliances are to be made as per the NGT’S directions and the encroachments, which are yet to be removed.

“It was incumbent on the respondents to have first gone through the judgement and then proceed for the execution of the same. During the course of the proceedings, we found that the respondents have not even noted the area in question (Khasras) and the directions given by the tribunal which are required to be complied with,” the tribunal said in its order.

During the previous hearing, on May 31, the tribunal had directed for the personal appearance of the Ghaziabad district magistrate on July 10 and observed that execution of the NGT order was proceeding at snail’s pace.

The court directed the submission of the affidavit within 10 days.

On Raghav’s petition, the tribunal on September 20, 2016, had directed the Ghaziabad Development Authority to obtain environmental clearances for the Hindon Elevated Road, whose pillars are on the said land chunks. It also directed the state’s chief secretary to take a final view and pass orders on whether or not the state proposes to declare and notify several land chunks of proposed the Hindon bird sanctuary as a bird sanctuary at all, as under provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act.

The tribunal had also directed the chief secretary to pass appropriate orders for the removal of encroachments and protection of water bodies.

“The earlier petition was related to several land chunks which were meant to be declared a bird sanctuary. But the government later said they will not be declaring the land as one. After this, the issue which remained was of encroachment on the land chunks. Officials maintain that the encroachment is over only one land chunk at Arthala, while in reality there are encroachments over several land chunks,” advocate Rahul Chaudhary, representing petitioner Raghav, said.

The Ghaziabad authority also obtained the environment clearances required as directed for operationalising the Hindon Elevated Road.

Ghaziabad district magistrate Ritu Maheshwari said, in response, that an affidavit will be submitted to the tribunal.

“The petitioners have raised the issue of encroachment over several land chunks. We had submitted the report earlier too. But with new directions, we will submit the affidavit as directed by the tribunal,” she, added.

The Ghaziabad administration has, since June, taken up at least three drives to free the lake of encroachments.