CS for no let-up in anti-encroachment drive till retrieval of identified land across J&K

Directs Div Coms, DCs for furnishing fortnightly progress reports

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Aug 22: In order to ensure that there is no let-up in the ongoing anti-encroachment drive in the length and breadth of the State, Chief Secretary has issued directions to both the Divisional Commissioners and all the Deputy Commissioners for furnishing fortnightly reports about the retrieval of all sorts of land from the encroachers.
However, Government has yet not worked out any policy vis-à-vis proper protection of retrieved land from encroachments in future and its utilization for the developmental and other interests of the State.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that after going through the reports submitted by both the Divisional Commissioners on the basis of inputs received from all the districts vis-à-vis encroachments on State, Kahcharai, Forest, common and other categories of land, the Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam has made it clear to the Divisional Commissioners as well as Deputy Commissioners that there shall be no let up in ongoing anti-encroachment drive till entire identified land is retrieved.
“On the directions of the Governor, an intensive drive has been launched for removal of encroachments and illegal structures across the State and it will be appreciated if you could send fortnightly progress reports in this regard along with photographs to my office for perusal of the Governor”, read the communication of Chief Secretary addressed to both the Divisional Commissioners.
They disclosed that even a format has been worked out for furnishing progress reports to the Divisional Commissioners by the Deputy Commissioners and then to the Chief Secretary.
“The fortnightly progress reports vis-à-vis retrieval of land will be minutely analyzed by the Chief Secretary’s office and compared with the total encroached land district-wise and subsequently necessary instructions will be passed both to the Divisional Commissioners and concerned Deputy Commissioners”, sources said while disclosing that special thrust is being laid on removal of encroachments on water bodies in the light of the fact that the same are the main cause of the flash floods and subsequent damage to the public and Government properties.
It is pertinent to mention here that Governor, while expressing serious concern over widespread encroachments in the length and breadth of Jammu and Kashmir, had on July 21, 2018 issued directions to all the District Collectors (Deputy Commissioners) to carry out a comprehensive mapping of all encroachments relating to State, forest, Panchayat and other categories of the land in their respective jurisdictions and forward the same through the respective Divisional Commissioners.
“It is for the first time in Jammu and Kashmir that a comprehensive and credible district-wise data vis-à-vis encroachments has been prepared and substantial progress has been made in retrieval of land in both the regions of the State in a short span of time”, sources said, adding “since Chief Secretary has desired to personally analyze the progress on fortnightly basis there shall be no room for the concerned authorities including Deputy Commissioners to show any sort of slackness”.
They hoped that Chief Secretary will also ensure that those areas which are considered as hub of illegal activities of the land mafia are also brought under the ambit of the anti-encroachment drive and Police will provide timely and adequate support for tightening noose around the land grabbers.
As per the official data, a total of 7 lakh kanals of State land, 29,000 kanals of Kahcharai, 3.45 lakh kanals of forest and 84,000 kanals of Jammu Development Authority land is under encroachment in Jammu division. Moreover, there is vast encroachment on the water bodies in different parts of the province.
However, data about encroachments in the length and breadth of Kashmir valley worked out following the directions of the Governor could not be obtained. “Though we have shared the details with the Chief Secretary yet we are still in the process of finalizing the data received from the Deputy Commissioners”, said an officer in the office of Divisional Commissioner Kashmir.
No doubt efforts of the Governor and the Chief Secretary have started yielding results but the Government has yet not worked out any policy vis-à-vis proper protection of retrieved land from encroachments in future and its utilization for the developmental and other interests of the State.
“Unless some mechanism is devised proper protection of retrieved land from the encroachers would not be possible”, sources said and stressed that while huge chunk of retrieved land shall be properly fenced for the developmental projects the small patches shall be utilized for public facilities.