Varanasi, Apr 12: A senior SP leader has come out against the Varanasi Development Authority (VDA) for refusing permission to people living within 200 metres of the banks of the Ganga to carry out repair and restoration of their old houses.
Shatrudra Prakash, a senior leader of the ruling party in Uttar Pradesh, has alleged that VDA was engaging in "corruption and ultra- vires practises" with nearly seven lakh people living within 200 metres of the banks of the river having been "adversely affected" by denial of permission for repairs.
Prakash asked VDA to produce the Allahabad High Court order which denies permission for repairs to the said houses.
Prakash, who is a chairperson of the state government's Contractual Labour Corporation and enjoys the rank of a minister, claimed that high court has only issued directions restricting new construction within 200 metres of the river bank and not repairs to old houses.
He alleged that VDA has issued notices with "mala fide intention" to those carrying out repairs to their old houses after terming these "new construction".
He asked Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to direct VDA authorities to stop such "ultra-vires practices that malign the SP government's image as well as that of our judiciary".
"We met VDA authorities yesterday and asked them to produce the courts order that restrict repair and restoration of old houses within 200 metres of the river bank," he said.
"The VDA authorities were unable to show us any such ban order issued by high court," he added. Prakash warned the authorities that he would hold a "massive agitation" if it did not take back or withdraw the notices issued to the house-owners who have carried out repairs.
Taking up the case of a former journalist whose house was sealed by VDA authorities, the SP leader said the family was living in a rented accommodation despite having their own house.
He further questioned why no action was taken by the authorities over the alleged construction of a five-story building next to the journalist's house.
Prakash claimed that floods and earthquakes have damaged these houses, which are 50-100 years old, and need immediate repair.