In the last decade, we have seen an increase in the number of people who travel from remote areas of India to the greenway.
However, despite these advancements, many are concerned about the health impacts of using the greenways for recreational activities, as the land is considered sacred and its use is strictly prohibited.
One such person is Bhimav Dhar, who has been using the area for his outdoor activities.
“We are from the area and we use the land for a lot of things.
But now that we are going to use it for the public, the land should be protected,” he told TNM.
A few years back, the then-chairman of the National Greenways Commission, Naveen Kumar, told TNL that the land was a sacred place and hence the use of the green corridors was banned.
Dhar, however, feels the land has changed since he used it for recreational purposes.
“When I was in the area, the people used to use the water for drinking and bathing.
But recently, they have been using it for other purposes like for firewood.
So, I have been looking at whether or not I can use the same land for other activities.”
The National Greenway Trust (NGWT) has been monitoring the situation closely and has issued a notice to the Centre asking it to take action against the owners of the land, to remove any signs of the use, and to stop any illegal construction.
In this regard, the trust has asked the Centre to take steps to ensure that the lands are not being used for other illegal activities.
According to NGT’s chief executive, V R Suresh, the government should immediately take steps, including to issue licenses for private developers and land owners, to allow the use and maintenance of the national greenways.
He said the issue was being examined and action would be taken accordingly.
“This is a very sensitive issue and the state governments have been notified.
There are already a lot more people who are using the land,” Sureshe told TNG.
He added that since there are so many roads on the national side of the river, it is not easy to control the use.
“The government needs to take a strong stance and ensure that it does not get in the way of development.”