The Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation (GMC) has filed a case against 35 "land mafia" for selling land of a water body to 500 migrants from eastern UP, Bihar and West Bengal and efforts are on to trace the criminals, an official said on Monday.
The GMC has lodged an FIR with the Sahibabad police station.
Municipal Commissioner Dinesh Chandra said that the GMC is committed to free the land from illegal possession.
Acting on the complaint of local activists, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered the civic authority to free the land even if the houses on it are to be demolished.
Earlier, police were not available in view of ongoing general elections and now with Ramzan on, the GMC wanted to avert any unpleasant situation. However, due to the constant reminders to comply with the NGT orders, the GMC had to begin the demolitions.
In the first phase, about 15 houses were demolished.
During the demolition drive, the GMC found that the land-grabbers had sold the land to the migrants by registered sale deeds. Tracking the old records, it unearthed the 35 land grabbers responsibly.
"But the GMC is facing a major problem that the land-grabbers have fled the area. The police have maintained their names only in its record and their whereabouts are not available at this stage. It may take some time to nab them but we are sure that the police would track them. And we will be able to convince the NGT, in the next date of hearing, that their order to free the land is under process," Chandra said.