Anti-land mafia task force to end land grabbing in UP

Lucknow : In a major move to free state-owned land from illegal occupants, Yogi Adityanath government has decided to set up an anti-land mafia task force at the earliest.

“The Chief Minister has given a clear directive to start a campaign for vacating properties which have been under illegal occupation after identifying them in a month’s time,” an official spokesman said on Wednesday.

“The Chief Minister during the presentation of the finance department on Tuesday asked the officials concerned to set up the task force at the earliest to free government land from illegal occupants and encroachers,” he said.

The seriousness of the problem of illegal occupation on government land was highlighted last year when two police officers and 22 squatters were killed in a bloody conflict at Jawahar Bagh public park in Mathura in June.

The squatters, an armed group led by a Ram Vriksh Yadav, once a follower of Jai Gurudev, had been occupying the site since 2014.

Following a court order on their eviction in 2016, the police tried to forcibly evict them, triggering violence, that claimed the lives of two senior police officers, including a superintendent of police. The police then returned fire, killing several squatters.

During the presentation, the chief minister said though local bodies will be allowed a free hand in taking up welfare works, useless expenditure will not be allowed and local bodies will have to take effective measures for improving basic amenities to people.