As law enforcement agencies are busy with the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the land sharks are having a field day. The major victim of this laxity has been Noida with encroachment on government land in the area growing in the last month.
As elections are over, the Noida authorities are getting down to recover land, worth crores, which otherwise could be lost forever.
Noida, though in Uttar Pradesh, falls in the National Capital Region marked to take off population pressure from Delhi. Over the years, it has grown to rival its cousin, the millennium city Gurgaon. Gurgaon also in NCR region, however, comes in Haryana. “Undoubtedly, the land mafias, taking this (polls) as an ample opportunity, has encroached government as well as Noida Authority land across the city. We have sought reports from field officers and after identifying the spots, we will start freeing the land from them,” VK Panwar, Additional CEO of Noida Authority, told ‘Express’.
Referring to the people behind such encroachments, the officer claimed they were land mafias and small-time builders and not reputed builders. “They have encroached government land and authority land, where farmers still hold the possessions,” he said.
The Noida Authority has planned to start a major anti-encroachment drive across the region, to reclaim the illegally occupied land once the poll results are out on May 16. “The focus will be on flood plain areas along the Yamuna and Hindon rivers, lands belonging to gram sabhas and areas in the vicinity of Okhla Bird Sanctuary,” said the officer.
The worst affected regions are Sorka, Hindon and Yamuna river region, sectors along the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway, Okhla Bird Sanctuary area and regions along the NH-24.
The encroachment took place after land grabbers found that most of the police and administrative officials were out on election jobs. More than half the police force of the total 1700 cops, along with around 350 officials of other departments, were busy in Lok Sabha elections duty in other parts of the state. Poor presence of staff in the district has resulted in the spurt in encroachment activities. The authority has planned to come down heavily on these mafias after few days. “Once the police force returns, a massive drive will be conducted in the city,” added Panwar.