Illegal buildings that have come up near Mahto Bandh in Chas. Picture by Pankaj Singh
Bokaro district administration has issued notices to 26 people for encroaching on Mahto Bandh in Chas township.
A fresh assessment of the pond area confirmed that more than 2.78 acres of the water body at Jodhadih crossing had been filled up and a number of dwelling units had come up there.
The “illegal” settlers have been given two weeks’ time to produce valid documents and prove their land ownership. Otherwise, their houses will be demolished.
On Thursday, Chas circle officer Ram Naresh Soni said, “Notices have been served to the owners of the dwelling units which were found on the encroached area. Their houses will be demolished and the pond restored to its original form, if they fail to come up with the ownership papers.”
Soni further said that if the illegal settlers refused to toe the government line, an FIR would be lodged against them.
Notices were served on Vijay Kumar Singh, P.C. Jakaria, Ram Chandra Singh, Dhewa Ram Chatterjee, Chadi Modak, G.P Modak, Mewa Ram, Ram Awtar Thakur, Ranjit Mahto, Toni Mistri, Narmadeshwar Jha, Ranjit Prasad, Ram Vilas Singh, Mintu Prasad, K.D Singh, Ram Ashish Singh, Gopal Sao Gupta, Sukumari Devi, Rama Devi, Jai Prakash Taparia, Mahesh Singh, Ganpatlal Taparia, Lalan Singh, Pinku Taparia, Nunu Lal and Ram Deo Yadav.
The pond measurement was carried out on the basis of a Jharkhand High Court directive issued after a PIL was filed by a Shivpuri Colony resident in August.
In his PIL, Kaushal Kishore claimed that land sharks were encroaching on the pond. He had even produced photographs of the water body being filled up with red soil to substantiate his claims.
The then deputy commissioner Arwa Raj Kamal had instructed Chas municipality chief Krishna Kumar to carry out the court order.
After an inordinate, the work to measure the pond was completed on Wednesday. It was measured in the presence of residents.
The pond use to be of 8.14 acres in 2000 when the state was carved out of Bihar. But in the past 13 years, land mafia had eaten up 2.78 acres, the exercise revealed.
Encroachment is not uncommon in Chas.
In 2011, more than 103 illegal constructions were detected by then SDO Sudhir Ranjan on the Garga river bed, prompting then Bokaro deputy commissioner Amitabh Kaushal to order their demolition.
But after the deputy commissioner was transferred his order was never executed.