PWD and Irrigation Minister Shivpal Yadav has issued directives to the district administration to clear the Yamuna floodplain land in Gautam Budh Nagar.
The vast tract of land,owned by the state’s irrigation department,has been gobbled up by land sharks. Several farmhouses have been constructed in the ecologically sensitive Yamuna encatchment area.
Shivpal issued the directives during his inspection at the Yamuna floodplain and Okhla Barrage on Thursday. “Do anything,but remove these encroachments. Kuch bhi karo,” Shivpal told the administration.
The minister also asked the administration to lodge FIRs against the encroachers and send them to jail. “The Yamuna floodplain should be cleared of all encroachments. The land belongs to the irrigation department and strong action will be taken against the defaulters,” said Shivpal.
The floodplain land,known as Khadar or agricultural land,comprises a 25 km stretch running beside the Yamuna. The land was originally meant for farming by local villagers or gram sabha. No permanent construction is allowed there. However,the land has been encroached by various builders,who have sold it for a fortune,and farmhouses have come up. “These farmhouses are totally illegal and also violate the ecological balance,” said Shivpal.
The encroachment of land and developing of land,however,did not happen overnight. The district administration,police and irrigation department had turned a Nelson’s eye to the developments,he said.
Shivpal also inspected the Okhla barrage and ordered its desilting. “It has not been done for the past 25 years. Accumulation of silt has reduced the storage capacity from seven days to two days,resulting in water crisis in Agra,Noida and Mathura,” said Shivpal. The process of desilting is expected to cost Rs 18 crore.
Shivpal also stated that desilting of canals in the state will now be conducted twice a year before releasing the water. Earlier it was an annual process. “In the previous regime,it was all fake and the canals were never cleaned. We will probe these incidents,” said Shivpal.