Unplanned development ruins peace of Delhi, Agra cantonments
New Delhi, Sep 8 (IANS) In the past few years, unplanned and haphazard development has been witnessed in the areas under the Cantonment Boards of Delhi and Agra due to increase in population in civil areas and widespread encroachments.
The Delhi Cantonment, which came into existence in the year 1914, is spread over an area of 10,791.88 acres. As per the Census of India report 2011, the total population of the area is 1.10 lakhs. The jurisdiction of the board spreads over the urban villages of Jhareda, old Nagal, East Mehram Nagar, West Mehram Nagar and parts of Prahladpur and Naraina.
Besides, there are two notified civil areas within the cantonment, Sadar Bazar and Shastri Bazar, where as per officials, unplanned development is most rampant.
"We undertake regular periodic anti-encroachment drives in these areas. But the violators are back within no time," said a Delhi Cantonment Board official.
Army officials have complained in the past about encroachments and unplanned growth in civil areas affecting functioning of the armed forces institutions and establishments in the area. Over the years, the growth in population in civil areas of Delhi Cantonment has resulted in the board having to fall back upon facilities of the defence establishment for municipal services in the area.
The Board does not have a Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) of its own and sewerage generated from residences of the civil population is diverted to the plants belonging to Military Engineering Services. This, despite the fact that the Board has an annual budget of around Rs 250 crore granted to it by the defence ministry every year.
In terms of cleanliness though, the Delhi Cantonment Board has scored a brownie over its counterparts in other parts of the country. It has consecutively bagged the first prize for the years 2018 and 2019 in the Swachh Sarvekshan conducted amongst 62 Cantonment Boards across the country.
The Agra Cantonment Board, which was established in the year 1805, is also beset with problems of over-population, unplanned development and haphazard growth in the civil areas.
The Cantonment spreads over an area of 2857.7 acres and has an annual budget of around Rs 80 crore. While 80 per cent of potable water requirements for the civil areas comes from the Yamuna river, there is no STP under the Board.
A Board official said under condition of anonymity that sewerage generated from civil areas is discharged into stormwater drains.
"Unauthorised constructions take place in the civil areas by flouting building bylaws of the board. There are rampant commercial activities in the civil areas without any mechanism of checks and balances. Shops and trading outlets have proliferated in the areas over the years," said the official.