A sitting minister in PDP-BJP ruling coalition government is illegally occupying Forest Land in Jammu and Kashmir.
The revelation came when right-wing lawmaker, Shakti Raj Parihar asked the government details about the people who have encroached upon Forest land across state.
Government on Friday informed the Lower House in a written reply that the current Transport minister from BJP side, Abdul Gani Kohli, is one of the persons who is accused of the illegal occupation of land.
“Forest land measuring two Kanals under Khasra No 356 has been encroached by Abdul Gani Kohli, Minister,” the reply said.
Besides, the government said that Congress member and former Minister Taj Mohiuddin has illegally occupied 26.20 Kanals of forest land in compartment V-4c Sedev of Shopian forest division.
Divulging details, the government informed the house that a large chunk of forest land has been encroached upon by the big business houses, bureaucrats and politicians including ex-ministers.
“Also a diversion of 11,924 ha of forest land for non-forestry purposes under J&K forest at, 1997 for developmental activities, caused reduction of forest over.”
Ex-Minister Bashir Ahmad has encroached upon 4 Kanals of land in Khasra No 249 in Sunjwan, Jammu forest land.
14 hotels in Patnitop have encroached the forest land as per the records available with government.
The hotels include Hotel Pine and Peak; Hotel Mount Shivalik, Hotel Subash Palace, Hotel Sushant, Hotel Green Top and Hotel Forest View.
It is pertinent to mention that 12030.49 ha of demarcated forest land is presently under encroachment in the state.
Further, the minister in-charge of Forests, informed the house that the forest cover in Jammu and Kashmir is shrinking due to “degradation of demarcated forests caused by various biotic pressures including human beings”.