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Ghaziabad: NGT refuses to implead residents with homes near Arthala lake
ET Realty  |  June 10, 2019

Aditya Dev Ghaziabad

The court said the petitioners have the freedom to approach appropriate authorities regarding ownership of the land.

 

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has refused to implead a group of residents who have built homes near Arthala lake in the ongoing case saying the court is only concerned about the environmental impact of encroachment near the lake. The court said the petitioners have the freedom to approach appropriate authorities regarding ownership of the land.

 

While hearing a case filed by environmentalist Sushil Raghav, who had contended that about 50% of the lake has been encroached upon, NGT, on Tuesday, said the court is not deciding the title issue.

 

“This court is only considering the environmental issues with a view to protect the water bodies which were encroached upon by unauthorised persons and unauthorised encroachments made by miscreants so as to reduce the water bodies into their possession. Under the circumstance, we do not think that it is necessary to implead the applicants in the execution proceedings. They are at liberty to move the appropriate forum to establish their rights in accordance with the law,” the court order stated.

 

The NGT, in September 2016, had ordered that the lake area be cleared of illegal structures and its sanctity restored.

 

In 2017, Raghav filed a contempt plea in the case and the court heard the matter on April 22 this year, in which authorities sought more time, saying that since the election process was on, it would be difficult to get police force to carry out the drive. Later, the district authorities carried out an anti-encroachment drive on May 29 and demolished some structures.

 

Subsequently, applications were moved by residents seeking impleadment and stay of proceedings. Applicants had argued that orders had been passed without hearing their grievances. They claimed they were not encroachers and had purchased properties on the basis of registered sale agreements and deeds and the areas were registered as private holdings in revenue records and it is not part of the water body.

 

Now, when the authorities are implementing the NGT order by demolishing the buildings where applicants stay, saying these are illegal encroachments, residents have pleaded for impleading them as respondents in the case. Applicants also requested a stay on eviction proceedings.

 

Last week, police booked 35 people for buying and selling plots and building houses on encroached land near Arthala lake in Sahibabad after Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation filed a complaint. They were booked under IPC sections 420 (cheating), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 447 (criminal trespass), 448 (house-trespass), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) of the IPC and sections 2 and 3 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.