SRINAGAR: In ten forest divisions of Jammu region, nearly 2.5 Lakh Kanals of forest land have been ‘illegally’ encroached by different individuals, groups and organizations.

According to the official figures available, in ten different forest divisions of the region, at least 2,46,450 Kanals of land (12,466.9 HC) are under encroachers.

This information was revealed by the different Public Information Officer (PIO) of Jammu region in reply to the Right to Information (RTI) application filed by the activist M M Shuja.

Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Rajouri in a reply has said that 4510.87 hectares of forest land have been encroached by different individuals, groups and organizations.

Similarly, the DFO of Nowshera has said that at least 412.60 hectares of forest land was under encroachers.

Likewise, PIO has informed that in Reasi forest an area, nearly 1157.40 hectares of land was encroached followed by Mahore, Dharmari wherein at least 1645 hectares of forest land was under encroachers.

The DFO Poonch informed that at least 965.92 hectares of land was encroached by different individuals, groups and organizations in the region.

According to the PIO, in Batote area, at least 474.83 hectares of forest land was encroached followed by Jammu forest areas with 648 hectares, Doda forest areas with 173.16, Ramban with 2202, Kishtwar with 379.72 and Bhadarwah forest areas with 310.54 hectares of forest land.

On inquiring about the action against the encroachers, the PIOs of the different forest divisions said that actions are being taken under legal provisions in the Indian Forest Act 1927 including FIR, Court Proceedings, etcetera.

Besides, the PIOs has further informed that except the encroachers of 12,466.9 Hectares, the concerned department was trying to retrieve the forest land from the encroachers.

“Further, the eviction proceedings are under progress and notices have been issued to the encroachers under section 79-A of Indian Forest Act, 1927 and efforts are being made to retrieve the encroached forest land from the encroachers,” the PIO said.

notably, 14 hectares of forest land from two wildlife sanctuaries in Jammu region have been encroached by different individuals, groups and agencies till 2023.

The official record reveal that there is a total of 3150 hectares of land in Ramnagar wildlife sanctuary and 3334 in Nandini sanctuary respectively wherein at least 6.35 hectares of forest land from Ramnagar and 7.50 hectares of forest land from Nandini wildlife sanctuaries have been encroached.(KNO)

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