500 kanal forest land retrieved: Forest Deptt

The Forest department Monday said its Kamraj Forest Division In a major anti-encroachment drive retrieved around 500 kanal of forest land “illegally occupied by locals and bhang cultivators” at Trimukhan Top in north Kashmir.

DFO Kamraj Forest Division, Zahid Moghul said that a joint team of Forest Territorial Ranges, Police and Forest Protection Force was on Sunday deputed to Trimukhan Top of Kandi Forest Range in Sopore to remove encroachments. He said the team was constituted by Conservator of Forests, Irfan Rasool in which several officers including range officers of Kandi Range Sopore and Rajwar Range were deputed to organise and coordinate the operation.

“During the operation, around 500 kanal of encroached forest land was retrieved,” Moghul said.

According to reports, the forest team met with resistance from the locals in which several forest employees including the range officer of Rajwar Forest Range sustained injuries. “The officers and forces after launching the operation successfully retrieved the land from the encroachers, dismantled 50 sheds and also removed fence lines set up by encroachers in the area,” the reports said.

The J&K High Court in the PIL No 25/2017 ‘SAVE versus J&K Government’ directed eviction of all forest encroachments in J&K and the government constituted an oversight committee headed by Principal Secretary Revenue and Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and the Divisional Commissioners are its members.

“The mega eviction drive in Kamraj Forest Division was carried out in pursuance to this recent development,” Moghul said.