By: Faisal Fareed
The recent spurt in construction near and around Etawah’s Lion Safari has caught the district administration’s keen eye with the administration not only imposing an immediate ban on all such construction works, but an inquiry too has been ordered by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in what the govt describes as “large-scale grabbing of land”.
The administration claims that the spurt in construction activities began after land prices soared after the development of Lion Safari. Old mud mounds and ravines, unique to Chambal areas, were leveled and fenced with boundary walls. But with the ban imposed by the Etawah administration, on all construction work adjoining Fisher Forest area, which houses the Lion Safari, have now come under the watchful eyes of the team of revenue and forest officials especially constituted to undertake physical inspection of every construction in the areas nearby.
Significantly, the issue was raised by none other than Akhilesh himself.
During his recent visit to Raja Sumer Singh Fort in Etawah, Akhilesh, while passing through the forest area, noticed the ongoing construction work and the heavy machines in use. He inquired Etawah DM Nitin Bansal about the ongoing work and, soon after, ordered that every construction work on land adjoining Lion Safari be screened and cases be lodged against those who are illegally capturing the land.
DM Bansal immediately issued instructions banning all construction work even as some officials visited the area to personally stop the construction.
“The land prices after development of Lion Safari has escalated in the adjoining areas. Suddenly, there has been a spurt in construction activities on forest land. We have stopped all construction work till the physical survey has been done,” Bansal told The Indian Express.
A team of revenue and forest officials, too, has been constituted which will physically inspect the land and verify the title of land. Most of the area where construction work was being done is regulated and it is compulsory to get the map sanctioned before starting any fresh work. No such maps were submitted to the administration. A part of the area also comes under Etawah-2021 Mahayojana which is still awaiting sanction from the state government.
“We have also asked the engineers of regulated area authority to survey their areas and prepare a list of illegal construction. All such constructions will be demolished. Some boundary walls have been constructed within last one year,” Bansal added.
Earlier, the CM had intervened when camels were deployed to ferry sand illegally from the banks of Chambal river. It was discovered that nearly 1000 camels were being used by mining mafias. Nearly 300 notices were issued to those engaged in illegal sand mining although no action was taken.