NGT orders action against university run by Azam Khan for encroaching Kosi flood plains

New Delhi, Sep 23 (PTI) In fresh trouble for Samajwadi Party MP Azam Khan, the National Green Tribunal has ordered action against a private university run by him in Rampur for "encroachment" on Kosi floodplain. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said that since Kosi river is a tributary of river Ganga, concerned statutory authorities may take appropriate action against the encroachers. "A report dated August 13, 2019 has been filed by the UP Pollution Control Board to the effect that land has been illegally grabbed by the trust and action has been taken, against which appeal is pending before the Divisional Commissioner, Moradabad. FIR has also been registered and process for cancellation of lease has also been taken. "In view of the report, we are of the view that action may also need to be taken for encroachment of the floodplain in accordance with law in view of the fact that Kosi River is contributory of river Ganga. The concerned statutory authorities may proceed in accordance with law accordingly," the bench said. The tribunal had earlier directed a joint committee, comprising the UP State Pollution Control Board and the Rampur district magistrate, to look into the matter and furnish a report. The tribunal was hearing a plea by Lucknow-based journalist Shailesh Singh against illegal constructions on the flood plain of the river Kosi at Jauhar Nagar by Mohammad Ali Jauhar University and its office bearers. Mohammad Ali Jauhar University is a private university established in 2006 by the Mohammad Ali Jauhar Trust in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh, and is recognised by the University Grants Commission. Khan is its chancellor. The plea said the construction was obstructing the free passage of the river, resulting in scarcity of water and devastation of the environment. An FIR has been registered in the matter and the illegal encroachment continues to cause damage to the river, the plea said. Referring to media reports, the petitioner said that a case was registered against Azam Khan on the basis of an FIR filed by the Revenue Department at the Azim Nagar police station in Rampur. The FIR reveals that Khan, who represents Rampur in Lok Sabha, and his close aide allegedly 'grabbed land' from 26 farmers for the construction of the Mohammed Ali Jauhar University, the plea said. The complaint of the state Revenue Department also alleges that Azam Khan, who misused his position as cabinet minister in grabbing the land of poor farmers, also illegally occupied another huge chunk of land measuring 5,000 hectares which comes under the floodplain of the Kosi river and cannot be acquired, it said. The Samajwadi Party has alleged that the allegations were false and Khan was being targeted due to political vendetta. Last week, the Allahabad High Court had dismissed a writ petition challenging the demolition order against Rampur Public School of Azam Khan issued by the Rampur Development Authority for alleged illegal construction.The court had said the petitioner had the remedy of appeal against the notice before the commissioner concerned. PTI PKS RT