The National Green Tribunal has junked a plea seeking demolition of a building for Haj pilgrims in Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh, noting that the structure does not fall on the floodplains of river Hindon. A bench headed by acting NGT Chairperson Justice U D Salvi (retired) dismissed the petition filed by an NGO and a Ghaziabad resident claiming that the land where the Haj house was being constructed was recorded as ‘Hindon River’ in the revenue records of Village Arthala in Ghaziabad.
“No particulars of floodplain in terms of its physical characteristics and biological components which would signify the character of the said pieces of land in question as a floodplain, have been placed before us. The fact that the land has been segregated from the river Hindon with construction on embankment in 1970s makes it very difficult now to accept the contention that it falls in the floodplain zone of river Hindon,” the plea said.
The green panel also directed the UP Haj House Committee to ensure that a Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) of 136 kilo litre per day is installed there to treat domestic effluent. “UP Pollution Control Board shall inspect the said premises within one week and in event there being no STP of the specific capacity been found installed at the Haj House, it shall be sealed,” the NGT said.
According to the plea, the construction of Haj house was in complete violation of the directions of the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh to all authorities including police to ensure that no construction of any kind is allowed on the floodplain. It has also referred to the 2013 NGT order which had taken note of the several illegal construction on the floodplains and passed a restraining order against any illegal construction of temporary or permanent nature on floodplains of Yamuna and Hindon.
Located at the Arthala village near Hindon river, the Ghaziabad Haj House is an under-construction seven-storey building. Offering a capacity of 2,500 pilgrims at a time like the Lucknow Haj house, Ghaziabad Haj house will have arrangements for foreign exchange, immigration, medical aid and other amenities for the pilgrims. A separate administrative block is also being constructed.