DFO Jammu Forest Division suspended for dereliction of duties

DFO Jammu Forest Division suspended for dereliction of duties
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Forest, Ecology and Environment Department Thursday ordered suspension of DFO Jammu Forest Division for dereliction of duties and for his failure to comply with the directions of the court to retrieve the encroached forest land.

During the period of suspension, the DFO Jammu Forest Division, Alok Kumar Maurya would remain attached with the office of Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and HoFF, J&K.

The suspension order issued by the Forest Department said that a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) No 25/2017 titled Save Animal Value Environment (SAVE) versus the State of J&K and others was pending before the High Court.

During the course of hearings in the PIL, the order reads that multiple orders had been issued regarding encroachment on forest land wherein, inter-alia, the Forest department was directed to submit details of the persons in unauthorised occupation of forest lands, put up a details of forest lands encroached on the website of the Forest department and to take steps to evict the encroachers from the land.

"In an order on October 7, 2020, the High Court directed 'Let the respondents also file a report before us giving the action taken to retrieve the land from the 50 largest encroachers (in terms of size of the land encroached) before the next date of hearing.'"

The order said, "Status of the retrieval of encroached forest was reviewed by the authorities on April 30, 2021 and it was observed that in Jammu Forest Division no tangible action has been taken to effectively demonstrate the compliance of the directions of the High Court as regards the eviction and retrieval of the encroached forest lands."

"Alok Kumar Maurya, DFO Jammu Forest Division has failed to comply with the directions in retrieving and securing the encroached forest lands. Evidently, his inaction has further delayed eviction and retrieval of the encroached lands," the suspension of the DFO reads.

It states: "In fact, he has faltered in performing his legitimate duties as Divisional Forest Officer of retrieving and safeguarding the encroached forest lands including retrieval and restoration of the forest lands from the clutches of the identified largest encroachers."

In view of pending inquiry into the matter, Maurya has been placed under suspension for dereliction of duties for his failure to comply with the High Court order against the encroachment of the forest land.

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