Two weeks after a violent clash between police and squatters during an eviction drive left 29 people dead in Mathura, Governor Ram Naik Wednesday wrote a letter to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav asking him to issue a “white paper” on the illegal encroachments across Uttar Pradesh.
The letter comes a day after Akhilesh met Naik and briefed him on the recent incidents of violence in Mathura, protests by the families of the Dadri lynching case accused and alleged migration of Hindu families from Kairana in Shamli district.
In his letter, Naik has asked Akhilesh to seek a report from all the district magistrates, development authorities as well as civic authorities about the unauthorised encroachments on parks, grounds, ponds, public places by individuals or institutions, along with details about when the encroachment had taken place, total area encroached, market value of the land and the revenue loss to the respective authority.
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Asked about the letter, Governor Ram Naik told The Indian Express, “We had discussed the issue in the meeting on Tuesday, but Mathura violence should not be seen in isolation and our approach should not be limited to just one incident. While government land in Mathura was encroached for past two years, there are similar government lands across the state, which have been encroached by so called land mafias. But, despite several court orders government fails to vacate them.”
Naik further said that “as a Governor, I can advise” the state government. “It is my advise to the government to not only identify such lands across the state and compile their list for public benefit but also make them public in the form of a white paper. The issue can be addressed once we know the exact nature and extent of the problem,” the Governor said.
In his letter to the CM, the Governor also wrote that in different districts, government lands as well as buildings have been encroached for a long time. He wrote that while there have been court orders from time to time to remove these encroachments under different Acts, including the UP Parks, Playground and Open Spaces (Preservation and Regulation) Act-1975, the UP Protection of Trees Act 1976; and the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act-1984, the state government has failed to get its own land vacated.
“In Jawahar Bagh, Mathura, a private organisation had not only encroached upon government land since the past few years, but was carrying out illegal activities from there. The state government could not implement the Allahabad high court orders and it was only when defamation petition was moved that administration tried to remove the encroachers,” the letter said, adding that the move left two police officers dead and several injured.
Emphasising on the need to not only compile the details about such encroachments but also make it public, Naik said, “Land is becoming costlier and costlier day by day. Thus, in order to handle the malice of encroachment over land, we need to apply our mind and in order to apply mind over solutions, we need to first have a compiled list in our hand.”