Govardhan, 2017.03.09 (VT): Violence broke out in Govardhan during an anti-encroachment drive around the sacred hill of Giriraj. The residents of Nagla Sapera pelted stones at the officials as illegal encroachments were demolished.

A team from Mathura Vrindavan Development Authority (MVDA) and forest department officials had gone to clear the encroachment on a part of the Govardhan Parikrama area on Thursday. The National Green Tribunal had earlier ordered to clear all encroachments around the Govardhan Hill.

Local sources say police resorted to firing in the air when the situation got out of control when locals started pelting stones. However, authorities refuted that claim and said that no firing was done, only a mild lathi-charge was conducted to control the stone-pelting mob.

Sub Divisional Magistrate Shri MP Singh said, “A notice was served to the locals several days ahead of the demolition. But instead of vacating the illegally possessed land, the locals indulged in violence.”

“Those who are in unauthorized possession of land in the area are advised to clear it, failing which the houses will be demolished. We have to comply with the orders of the Green Court,” said Shri Vijay Kumar, the Secretary of the Mathura Vrindavan Development Authority.

Meanwhile, local RLD leader Kunvar Narendra Singh questioned the demolition of houses at Nagla Sapera falling under Govardhan Parikrama, claiming the residents have got valid documents.

He also demanded compensation and rehabilitation of the people whose houses were demolished.

IMG-20170221-WA0003The NGT is all set to protect the Giriraj Hill in Govardhan. It has been giving direction to the government in time to time to protect the most important natural heritage of Vraja-Vrindavan.
The Green Court has given certain guidelines for the protection of the Govardhan Hill. The demolition of illegal structures on the Govardhan Parikrama Marg is a significant aspect of implementing the Green Court’s order.

The guidelines are as follows:

1. A service road of 10 meters in width around the Parikrama Marg behind existing houses and ashram and a ring road outside the said service roads shall be constructed and all vehicular traffic should be terminated on said service road, and Parikrama Marg may be completely closed for any vehicular movement with the exception of medial and fire services.
2. The entire Parikrama Marg may be declared as a no-construction zone to avoid any further encroachment.
3. Interceptors should be constructed and sewage generated in the area should be diverted to an STP. Residents may be directed to take a sewage connection. A punitive action may also be recommended against residents for violation/discharge of sewage on roads/water bodies.
4. The areas along the Parikrama Marg which have not been provided with a sewage system should be provided with sewer lines and a suitable sewage treatment facility should be provided.
5. Facilities for collection of MSW and its proper disposal should be made for the disposal of MSW where collected MSW may be disposed off as per MSW (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000.
6. At some places, along the Pucca road, natural path between Kacchi Parikrama Marg and Giriraj ji have emerged on its own and are convenient to the pilgrims because the shade of the trees saves the devotees from the scortching sun on such natural paths. Therefore at such places, the widening of Kacchi Parikrama, which may result in cutting of trees, is not necessary. In view of abandoning of further widening of the Kacchi Parikrama Marg, vide office order no. 485/12 C-Agra region/2015, dated 6.2.2015, the remaining forest area diverted for non-forest use shall again be declared as Forest area.
7. The officials have informed the visiting team that widening of Kacchi Parikrama Marg at proposed places will not be done considering the inevitable damage to existing dense vegetation in the area and thus no trees will be cut in the future.
8. At a few water bodies, a simple waste water treatment system based on sand/gravel filtration had been provided by non-government organizations/ashrams and that treated waste water is used for vegetation. Such a treatment system can be improved by providing design and construction by professional Environmental Engineers/body and subsequently treated waste water can be used for the tree plantation in better way.
9. Condition of roads should be improved.
10. Parking Facilities for vehicles at suitable places at least 200 mts away from Parikrama Marg are required to be provided.
11. A drive may be carried out for identification of Forest land in accordance a with demarcation map and all encroachments may be removed in a time-bound manner.
12. A plantation drive may be carried out on forest land situated at Madaur on Gata No. 1673 measuring 2.55 Hectare.
13. That 3.9 hectare of non-forest land may be marked as forest in compliance to Letter no. 8B/UP/68/2013 FC/1180 dated 08.10.2013 in the Govardhan area and a plantation drive may be carried out in a time bound manner.
14. Any future widening of Kacchi Parikrama Marg may be undertaken only on the outer side of Parikrama Marg instead of the inner side of the Kacchi Parikrama Marg (The side of Giriraj Govardhan ji) which not only leads to the diversion of forest land but also involves the cutting of trees.
15. Illegal construction activities/buildings erected next to Giriraj ji along the Parikrama Marg have blocked/obstructed the view to have darshan by the devotees. It is recommended that such illegal construction between Parikrama Marg and Giriraj ji be demolished, so that the pilgrims can have a clear and unobstructed darshan/view of the sacred Giriraj Govardhan.
16. Private land next to Giriraj ji along the Parikrama Marg shall be declared as a no-construction zone.
17. An independent organization on the lines of other Shrine Board in the country may be constituted for the proper management of this religious place, providing all the required facilities and to maintain and upkeep the sanctity of holy places/kunds, cultural heritage, environment protection, sanitation, pollution control, and eco-balance of the green cover which includes kunds, pokhars, talabs, jharis and related aspects.