Ghaziabad Development Board toys with commercial hub in river bed

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Ghaziabad, April 28 (IANS) The Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) has sought government clearances for a commercial hub in the Hindon river bed, though the proposal stands in violation of environmental laws, according to official sources.

The GDA, at its board meeting on April 19, sought the state government’s “opinion” and clearances for the project though the proposal was a clear violation of environmental norms, allegedly under pressure from a senior police officer, sources said.

The application for the commercial hub project in the highly fragile area of Hindon river, a tributary of river Yamuna, was made by Rajesh Chand Tripathi of Kavi Nagar, Ghaziabad.

Treating it as a highly sensitive issue of VIP nature, the GDA board referred it to the government, according to sources.

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Details of the minutes of GDA board meeting suggest that the applicant had bought land partly in green belt adjoining the Grand Trunk Road and remaining part in the river conservation zone/ river front development area, from three farmers in 2006.

“The land is integral part of the flood plains to conserve the river. In the zonal development plan 2021, it is a natural conservation zone,” said GDA official Ishtiyaq Ahmad.

NCR Planning Board records mention that these areas should be well preserved and protected with no change of land use, he added.

“River conservation zone is a highly fragile area. No development authority or state can change its land use in the master plan, affecting the basic character of that plan as per UP Urban Planning and Development Act of 1973,” said Akash Vashishtha, an environmentalist of repute.

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The proposal was also put for the board’s consideration on October 5, 2015. The GDA then set up a technical committee, with irrigation department and NCR cell representatives as members, to examine the proposal.

In the meantime, the irrigation department of Uttar Pradesh gave its No-Objection Certificate though the land falls in flood plains of the Hindon river within a 200-metre periphery of its embankment.



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