Ghaziabad, July 18 (IANS) A waterbody in Ghaziabad gave way to a banquet hall and its original size was substantially reduced by influential politicians who took over the area, a group of BJP leaders alleged on Wednesday.
The Arthala lake, which was spread over 300 acres in 1995, has been reduced to only 35,000 square meters. The rest was filled with solid waste on which an Indira Priyadarshini Park was developed and leased to influential politicians at throwaway price, the leaders said.
The lease holders converted the park to a banquet hall and reduced the original lake to the size of a pond, with mud and dirt flowing from neighbouring residential localities.
The BJP leader in the Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation, Rajendra Tyagi, alleged that the scandal began in 2006 with the involvement of influential politicians including former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Then Municipal Commissioner Vijay Kumar Yadav formalized the proceedings and handed over the lake and park to Prachar Advertising on an annual rent of Rs 6 lakh, he said.
The allotment was made on the condition that the natural structure would not be changed and temporary structures would not come up on more than 5 percent of the total property including the lake and park.
There were other conditions too.
Councillors Tyagi, Goga Sharma and Himanshu Mittal (all from BJP) alleged that none of the conditioned were fulfilled by the lease holders.
The lake size was reduced, the park was ransacked and four banquet halls were erected in violation of rules. Four restaurants too came up, they said.