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DB expresses anguish over delay in removal of encroachments from forest land
11/11/2019 9:48:20 PM
Early Times Report

JAMMU, Nov 11: Expressing anguish over inordinate delay in removal of encroachments from Forest land, despite explicit directions, Division Bench of State High Court comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajesh Bindal has come down heavily on the official machinery for handling the grave issue with non-seriousness and buying time on one or the other pretext.
While hearing a Public Interest Litigation of inhabitants of Village Hari and Others, Division Bench observed that the important issue of eviction of 127 encroachers on forest land is a subject matter of this public interest litigation and subject matter is pending since 2017.
DB found that a status report dated 18th September 2019 has been filed by Rahul Yadav, Deputy Commissioner Poonch putting blame on 'prevailing law and order situation in the state, particularly in District Poonch' as a reason for which no action for removal of the encroachments has been taken.
Division Bench observed that the removal of the encroachers is one aspect of the matter and equally, if not more important, aspect is preservation of the existing land which is in the possession of the Forest Authorities. This has not even begun to engage the attention of the authorities, DB said.
DB directed that in this regard, not only should there be proper documentary records of the forest land maintained and preserved but also proper maps, video- graphings of the land as well as protective measures as fencing/ putting boundary walls etc. have to be examined, wheresoever possible.
DB further observed that it is really deeply distressing to note that no measures are at all being taken to protect the forest land.
DB directed Chief Conservator Forest, Circle Poonch, to place a status report regarding above measures and in case measures have been already taken, the details thereof shall be provided in the status report.
DB further observed that in case these aspects with regard to the preservation and maintenance of the forest cover have not been explored, the Chief Conservator Forest, Circle Poonch shall examine the matter and place a time bound action plan before this Court within which all these steps shall be undertaken.
DB further directed that this exercise be completed before December 18, 2019.
DB directed the Deputy Commissioner, Poonch and Senior Superintendent of Police, Poonch to provide the requisite support to ensure the eviction of the unauthorized occupants. The relevant date on which the eviction drive is to be conducted shall not be later than one month from today and also directed DC & SSP Poonch to file affidavit that the requisite has been done pursuant to the orders passed by Division Bench. --(JNF)
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