The price of ‘development’ - Ghaziabad colonies layered with concrete

January 12th, 2010 - 5:32 pm ICT by IANS  

By S.P. Singh
Ghaziabad, Jan 12 (IANS) Many colonies in Ghaziabad are losing whatever green cover they had and turning into concrete jungles - all in the name of development, residents of the city say.

According to residents, funds meant for developing roads and horticulture are being spent by authorities on laying thick and wide interlocking tiles all along the roads that would block any seepage of rainwater into the ground, thus affecting water supply and destroying the green cover of the area.

The residents say that the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) has diverted much of the Rs.24 crore fund meant for recarpeting of roads and developing horticulture and turned the colonies into barren jungles by cutting or uprooting trees for laying “useless” interlocking tiles.

The GDA has laid such tiles along almost all major roads of colonies like Raj Nagar, Kavi Nagar, Nehru Nagar and Ashok Nagar. The agency has also left no scope for any plantation activity to be undertaken in future.

“This is a deadly destruction forced by GDA upon us and nature. It is an irreversible change… Rainwater will not permeate under ground and the area is bound to go without water in just a few years,” said Sanjeev Sharma, a resident of Sector 6 in Raj Nagar.

Ghaziabad Residents Welfare Association chairman T.P. Tyagi, told IANS: “The GDA has no planning of any kind. While carrying out the work, it never bothered to ask residents what they wanted.”

“The funds should have been spent on re-carpeting roads, developing horticulture and installing proper street lights in Raj Nagar and Kavi Nagar,” he added.

Officials carrying out the project said the concrete interlocking tiles were laid in order to prevent residents from encroaching upon public land by developing kitchen gardens outside their homes.

Vinod Bansal, a Raj Nagar resident, however pointed out: “Kitchen gardens are just a way of maintaining greenery. This does not mean public land is being encroached upon. We are educated people. If at all the area is encroached, as they claim, then it can be taken back at any time by the GDA. All their claims are baseless. It was just an exercise to make money.”

GDA chief engineer Anil Garg, who is steering the project, told IANS: “It’s all part of development. Nothing is wrong in that.”

GDA Vice Chairman Narendra Kumar Chaudhary added: “Interlocking tiles are being laid to prevent any encroachment in the area. They also look good. There is no harm in making the area concrete.”

The Delhi High Court issued notices to the Delhi and central governments recently for concretising the city due to which many trees get uprooted even during minor storms.

(S.P. Singh can be contacted at spsinghg@gmail.com)

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