Enforcement wing is instructed to take stringent action against squatters.
NEW DELHI: The Noida Authority has come down heavily on illegal constructions by issuing public notices saying severe action will be taken against the encroachers. This move comes after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath directed the Authority to take tough action against those carrying out illegal constructions, seal such constructions and demolish them. These directions were issued after a meeting with the Noida Authority, Greater Noida Authority and the Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority officials in Lucknow.
The drive was initiated after the Noida Authority CEO Ritu Maheshwari instructed the enforcement wing to take stringent actions against street vendors and those indulging in illegal encroachment across the city.
There have been several complaints regarding property owners being unable to take possession of any land due to squatters. As per Noida Authority officials, the anti-encroachment drive was carried out in Sectors like 80,110,112,122,130-135,150 and work circles 1-10.
Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, K.K. Agrawal, General Manager of Noida Authority said, “The anti-encroachment drive has been a regular process and this time we are trying to intensify the process. We initiated this procedure to stop illegal occupancy rampant in Noida and Greater Noida. The move was prompted by problems arising from unauthorised vendors blocking the movement of traffic.”
It also came to light that the encroachers were illegally taking rents from those to whom the property was rented out. “The most shocking fact is that these jhuggis have kirayedars (tenants) who pay money to the owners in the slum area to reside,” added Agrawal.
However, slum dwellers have their own version, and they claim to have been left homeless without any prior notice. Soraj Singh Lohar, a veteran from Bhangel gas petrol pump bus stand , Sector 82, said, “We have been living here for 40 years. Basic facilities like gas connection, electricity and permanent identification cards were issued to us. There are around 20 jhuggis in total. The Noida Authority did not give us any prior demolition notice before razing our houses. We had written letters to the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh government but nothing got better.”
Touching upon the same, Arun Kumar Goswami, APE (technical), said, “Even though these jhuggis were provided with basic amenities, that still makes them illegal settlements. They have encroached on lands that do not belong to them. Rehabilitation facilities are provided when land is acquired from anyone. But this is a case of illegal encroachment.”
Some alleged that even though the Noida Authority had taken agricultural lands from farmers before 1997, the latter did not give any physical possession. A villager from Nagla Charandas in Noida Phase 2 said, “My land was snatched away by the Noida Authority in 29 September 2014. I keep visiting the Noida Authority CEO in an attempt to get it back.”
Agrawal said, “We had built around 4,000 flats in Circle 6 to rehabilitate slum dwellers from jhuggis in Noida Sector 8, and auctioned them. Only 100 flats have been occupied and rest 3,900 flats are lying vacant.” Another senior official from the Noida Authority said, “We file FIRs, in case the encroachers do not abide by the notice period served to them. Both the land and project divisions of the Noida Authority take care of permanent encroachments. This time, we demolished 16 commercial units and razed 50 shanties to free the government land measuring 6,000 sq metres encroached upon by land-grabbers in Chhijarsi area near Sector 63. We also removed illegal street vendors alongside the Expressway. The Authority has also served notices to people who have built houses illegally in Salarpur, Chauda Raghunathpur, Yakubpur and other villages.” The Authority had served several notices asking encroachers to free the land on their own. “We take cases from several circles and then make a list. Then we extensively plan on the entire process and only after getting approval from the CEO of Noida Authority, we go through with the demolition and coordinate with the Superintendent of Police through the enforcement wing,” the official added.
The General Manager of Noida Authority also said, “Street vendors (temporary encroachment) are not given any notice as such. For other encroachers (permanent encroachment), we send out three notices, including notice for violation of Section 10/14 of the Noida building bylaws and then a complete procedure is followed. We take permissions from the administration and the CEO. We fix up a date and allot encroachers a grace period to move. If the encroachers do not free the land within that specific time period, we remove those illegal structures.”
He also highlighted the problem of shortage of staff. “We do not have the availability of police force at present. There is a shortage of staff which slows down the anti-encroachment process.”