Noida, (IANS) Angry villagers in Haibatpur in Noida extension Monday fought a pitched battle with the police and Greater Noida Development Authority (GNDA) workers when an anti-encroachment squad tried to demolish some illegal shops.
According to sources, around 50-60 unidentified men, who had inhabited an illegal colony on the banks of the Hindon River, clashed with police at around 10.30 a.m. when the GNDA team tried to to raze down illegal housing structures.
The mob also pelted stones at the police and the authority officials.
They vandalised the site office of a builder and blocked traffic on NH-24 by setting tyres on fire, police said. Three people sustained injuries in the incident.
According to Greater Noida officials, the authority had awarded compensation of land to local villagers for the 130-metre-wide Greater Noida-Ghaziabad highway as well as for the green belt extending up to 80 metres from the highway up to the river.
As this land remained unused for years, some property dealers from outside the village set up their bases on the green belt. They later sold this land – belonging to the GNDA – in the form of plots.
Yogendra Yadav, officer on special duty, Greater Noida, who headed the demolition team, said: “Some property dealers had encroached upon the green belt, on a testing basis, thinking that we won’t act. They extended their illegal plotting across the entire green belt, knowing that it is illegal and they were cheating people.”
“The property dealers had dug up two bridges on the canal along the village to prevent anybody from entering. They had also set up two offices and a number of houses to carry out their activities. We only went to reclaim the encroached land as we intend to develop the green belt,” he said.
“Their current activity alone was not illegal. All constructions raised in any area under the authority’s jurisdiction area by anyone, without getting its lay-out plan approved from the authority are illegal, as they are notified areas. So, it was illegal both ways,” Yadav said.
“Those who were doing it are well-organised mafia. We would get an FIR registered against those dealers,” Yadav added.
Sources in Haibatpur village said that the mafia had also blocked the flow of the river by constructing permanent, concrete boundaries on the river bed.
Sources say that several hundred acres of land along the Hindon river in Chhajarsi, Tigri, Haibatpur, Sorkha and Bhangel have been illegally sold by land mafia in connivance with administration officials.