Forest Deptt submits details of 50 largest encroachers along with action taken to HC

Proceed expeditiously for retrieval, submit fresh report:DB

Says they are under illegal occupation of 10,000 kanals

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Nov 3: Forest Department has submitted details of 50 largest encroachers of the forest land in Jammu and Kashmir along with the action taken in these cases till date to the Division Bench of the High Court, which has now issued directions for proceeding expeditiously for retrieval and furnishing fresh status report by or before December 21, 2020.
However, the Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajesh Bindal has recalled the earlier order whereby imposition of cost of Rs 25,000 was directed and also exempted the personal appearance of Principal Secretary Revenue Department Pawan Kotwal and Commissioner Secretary Forest Department Sarita Chauhan till further orders.
In the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) titled SAVE (Save Animal Value Environment) Versus Jammu and Kashmir and Others, the Division Bench on October 7, 2020 had issued directions for filing of report regarding action taken to retrieve the land from at least 50 largest encroachers in terms of size of land encroached before next date of hearing.
In compliance to this order, the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) Dr Mohit Gera has furnished the details of top 50 encroachers of the forest land along with the action taken in these cases.
After going through the report, the Division Bench headed by Chief Justice observed, “the report discloses that action for eviction of encroachers under the provisions of the Indian Forest Act, 1927 has been initiated and final eviction orders have also been passed against some persons”. Accordingly, DB directed the respondents to proceed expeditiously in the matter of retrieving encroached forest land.
“Having regard to the fact that the respondents have complied with the directions made by us, filed the status report and appear to be taking action for eviction and retrieving of encroached forest land, we are inclined to accept the prayer made by Deputy Advocate General Ayjaz Lone for waiving the cost of Rs 25,000 which was imposed by order dated September 3, 2020”, the DB said, adding “the order directing imposition of cost is hereby recalled”.
“We are informed by Dy AG that some of the persons against whom the orders have been passed, have approached this court by way of writ petitions. The details of these writ petitions be furnished to the Registrar Judicial within one week”, the DB said, adding “it is directed that all matters relating to the encroachment of the forest land shall be listed before this DB along with the present Public Interest Litigation on the next date of hearing—-December 21, 2020”.
The DB also exempted personal appearance of Pawan Kotwal, Principal Secretary to Government Revenue Department and Sarita Chauhan, Commissioner/ Secretary Forest Department till further orders.
As per the action taken report submitted by the PCCF to the High Court, the copy of which is available with EXCELSIOR, of the 50 top and largest encroachers, 41 are from Jammu region and rest from the Kashmir division. They have encroached upon nearly 10,000 kanals of forest land.
These encroachers are Ghulam Nabi, son of Mohd Sharief of Chir Khan Purmandal (200 kanals), Mohd Majid, son of Asar Din of Devak Purmandal (120 kanals), Ghulam Rasool, son of Nishat of Arnas (100 kanals), Soba Ram, son of Dhanu of Salal, Mani, son of Bindu Gujjar of Rassain Ramnagar (1567 kanals), Ganga Ram, son of Kali Lohar of Dalsar (1054 kanals), Duni Chand, son of Mani Ram of Rassain, Mir Ali, son of Bhagta, Saif Ali, son of Mir Ali and Dina, son of Gani of Rassain (240 kanals), Prem Singh, son of Chartu of Dalsar (222 kanals), Sandoor Singh, son of Hari Singh of Kaghote Ramnagar (196 kanals), Mirro, son of Kither of Barmeen, Mithu, son of Minku of Chillar Ramnagar, Jamal Din, son of Kaku of Khail Ramnagar, Kamlu, son of Mangtu of Thaplal, Bashir Ahmed of Dachhan (100 kanals), Fata Mohd of Dachhan, Shafi of Sumber Gool, Fareed Ahmed of Gool, Mohd Humai, Talib Hussain, Noor Hussain, sons of Sakhi Mohd of Gursai, Abdul Gafoor, son of Karam Hussain of Mangnar Poonch, Matwali Ayub, son of Rahim of Kalakote (101 kanals), Gillo Ram, son of Basantoo of Sunderbani (100 kanals), Mushfar Hussain Shah of Lamberi (100 kanals), Balak Ram, Kewal Krishan and Hala Ram of Teru Nowshera, Mansa Ram, Lakhi Ram, Dhani Ram of Sunderbani, Babu Ram of Sunderbani, Sham Lal, son of Ram Ditta of Sunderbani, Yaqoob, son of Margul of Sunderbani, Khalid, son of Nazir Ahmed of Kathua (392 kanals), Siraj Din of Sunjwan (820 kanals), Hussain Mohd of Chowadhi (792 kanals), Jamat Ali, son of Lab Din of Dungian Jammu (250 kanals), Riyaz Mohd, son of Noor Mohd of Bathindi (200 kanals), Sain Ditta, son of Feroz Din of Chatta Bahu (150 kanals), Pinja Suker Din, son of Mohiya of Chowadhi (120 kanals), Mohd Arief, son of Gosia of Panjgrian Nagrota (100 kanals), Qasim Din, son of Mehtab Din of Chatta Sunjwan, Om Parkash, son of Badri Nath of Bajalta, Ram Lal, son of Ganga Ram of Gaink Jammu, Sultan Mohd, son of Lal Din of Sunjwan, Alfu, son of Suboa Gujjar of Lohai Malhar.
In Kashmir valley the top encroachers are Wahab Mir, son of Bakhtawar of Skinder Bandipora (200 kanals), Ahmad Mir, son of Samad of Bandipora (110 kanals), Mohd Sultan Mir, son of Gulzar of Bandipora, Manzoor Parray, son of Shamsudin Parray of Drang Budgam (200 kanals), Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din Parray of Lassipora Budgam (182 kanals), Bashir Ahmad Parray, son of Abdul Aziz Parray of Lassipora Budgam, Ghulam Ahmad Parray, son of Ali Mohammad Parray of Lassipora Drung, Ali Mohd Parray, son of Kamaldin Parray of Budgam and Ghulam Qazir Sheikh, son of Sultan Sheikh of Drang Budgam.
In several cases, eviction proceedings have been initiated and show cause notices issued under Section 79A of the Indian Forest Act while as in other cases ground verification is being conducted by the field functionaries of the Forest Department in view of the claims made by the encroachers. There are also cases in which some land has been retrieved and process set into motion for reclaiming the remaining land.
There are very few persons in the list of 50 top encroachers whose names have clearly been reflected and most of the encroachers have been identified by their nick-names for the reasons best known to the field functionaries of the Forest Department, who had furnished the details for compilation and placement before the High Court.