GHAZIABAD: Residents of Shanti Nagar staged a protest at Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation’s (GMC) office in Navyug Market on Tuesday against a demolition drive being carried out by the civic body to free 1.3 hectares of land from encroachments.

Officials said that over 100 illegal structures had come up on the encroached land parcel, which is part of 3.7 hectares earmarked for a political training institute.

Mahender Singh, a local resident, said, “We had bought the land after paying a hefty sum, and now, we are told that it belongs to GMC. We had no other option but to protest.” Another protester, Srikant Tyagi, said: “In the past, the GMC never made any attempts to fence its land, taking advantage of which some middlemen sold government land to gullible customers. Now, we don’t know what to do.”

The protesters, however, dispersed after GMC commissioner MS Tawar assured them of free temporary accommodation and also offered to help them relocate at the civic body’s expense. Some 11 structures are yet to be razed at the site. “We’ve offered them free accommodation under the Kanshiram housing scheme,” said MS Tawar, municipal commissioner.

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