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National Green Tribunal seeks UP govt response on water bodies' encroachment

NOIDA: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed UP government to initiate within four weeks a process to remove encroachments from water bodies across the state. The government has also been directed to stop all construction activities that are at present being carried out over various water bodies in the state.

The directions have been issued by a four-judge bench headed by Justice Dr P Jyothimani during the hearing of an application related to encroachment in Ghaziabad district. In the application, filed by Ghaziabad-based environmental activist Sushil Raghav, it had been alleged that rampant encroachment of water bodies in the district had been leading to degradation of the region's ecology and leading to a drop in groundwater tables.

The bench has asked UP government to provide the full list of water bodies in Ghaziabad, along with locations where these bodies have been found to be encroached upon and the actions it takes to remove them, by March 7. It will have to issue individual orders for stopping such harmful construction work across the state. Authorities of the areas - where the state government will issue directions to stop these construction works - will have to scrupulously implement the orders.

The tribunal has also issued notices to a number of state government departments and agencies over the encroachment issue. Notices have been issued to the UP 
State Industrial Development Corporation(UPSIDC), the UP Awas Evam Vikas Parishad (Housing Board) and the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) after the tribunal was informed that few areas that have been stated to be encroachments are under the control of these agencies and departments.

The tribunal has suo motu impleaded the UPSIDC, the 
Housing Board and the GDA as respondents in the case.

The Times of India (30-01-2014)