Shahberi Saga: Another Builder Booked Under NSA For Constructing Flats On Authority's Land
In a major crackdown against illegal construction in Greater Noida's Shahberi, the Gautam Buddh Nagar administration has invoked the National Security Act against another Delhi-based builder arrested on October 1, 2019, for constructing and selling 250 flats on land owned by the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority. Earlier, the builder was booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 288 (negligent conduct with respect to pulling down or repairing buildings), 420 (fraud), etc., and was sent to jail.
"The decision to slap the NSA on this builder has been taken on the basis of a report from the district police. His bail plea is due to be heard in court soon and if he is granted bail, there are reasons to believe that he would engage in selling the remaining flats, leading to public disorder," says district magistrate Brajesh Narain Singh.
The Noida administration had previously invoked the NSA against a builder who had illegally constructed a multi-storeyed building in Ghaziabad's Shahberi that collapsed in July 2018. This was the first case in Uttar Pradesh, in which a builder has been detained under the stringent NSA, which prohibits bail to an accused for 12 months, subject to judicial review.
So far, 86 FIRs have been registered for constructing illegal units in Shahberi while action has been taken against 42 builders under the Gangsters Act.
Recently, the GNIDA declared all the buildings in Shahberi village as illegal and ordered their demolition. This meant nearly 25,000 people living in over 1,000 buildings are on the verge of losing their homes.
When did the Shahberi crisis begin?
In 2011, the GNIDA had notified the acquisition of prime agricultural land for industrial use. Following which a group of farm landowners approached the Allahabad High Court, challenging the notification issued as they accused the authority of allotting the land to private builders for the construction of a residential township. As a result, the HC denotified Shahberi, which meant any construction in the area would be illegal and no layout plans would be approved.
However, the residents living in these buildings claimed to have a bank loan and property registration papers. They are now raising questions as to why the authorities did not stop the construction of these buildings that have been come up over a period of one decade.
Not just Shahberi; areas including Garhi Chokhandi, Basai, Sorkha, Atta, Sadarpur, Sarffabad, Gijhod, Barola and Bhangel, also have a number of unauthorised buildings that are densely populated.
What's next for Shahberi residents?
In 2015, when the Gautam Buddh Nagar district magistrate conducted a survey, it was found that nearly 70 buildings in Shahberi were unsafe and needed strengthening. It was also observed that among these buildings - the ones that had eight floors, did not have a lift, violating the building bylaws. However, no steps were taken to curb the situation.
However, now the Noida Authority plans to go all out and take strict action against the illegal structures here. Noida Authority CEO Alok Tandon, in a media report, has said, “We have decided to identify all the unapproved buildings in Shahberi and take strict action against them. We have also sealed illegal buildings in some villages. Similarly, we will identify and seal other buildings too.” The Greater Noida Authority is also in the process of hiring multiple private agencies to carry out the demolition of illegal buildings.
With additional inputs from Housing.com News