Jammu: Wildlife Department today acquired 402 kanals and 14 marlas of land and fenced it accordingly for the management plan of a wetland at Gharana village in RS Pura.
The land was acquired amid protest demonstration by locals, who were demanding enhancement in the compensation for them.
According to eye witnesses, a strong contingent of police force was deployed in the area since morning. The locals including women also gathered there opposing the process of acquiring the land for wetland. The women led the sloganeering during the protest demonstration against the acquiring of the land which was demarcated for next 10 years of management plan of Gharana Wetland.
Since the situation turned tense, a strong police force along-with Revenue Department and Wildlife Department officials facilitated the officials to fence the area .
On the other-side, the police took District Development Council (DDC) member for Suchetgarh, Taranjit Singh Tony, who led the demonstration, alongwithSarpanchGharana, Gurudayal Singh and 15 other protesters in preventive custody.
“We were taken into preventive custody and released later,” said the DDC while speaking to Greater Kashmir.
He informed that the Divisional Commissioner, Jammu has asked them to attend a meeting with him tomorrow to discuss the issue following protest against the acquiring of the land.
Meanwhile, the DFO Anil Attri said, “Today, we have acquired 402 kanals and 14 marlas of land and fenced it accordingly with the help of revenue and police authorities. Of 402 kanal and 14 marlas land, 150 kanals is government land, custodian, shamlat and over 200 kanals is private land.”
He also informed that “total notified area in Gharana Wet Land is 1600 kanals. “However, following directions from High Court, we demarcated 408 kanals and 14 marlas under first phase as per immediate requirement for the department for management activity,” Attri said.
“We have paid an amount of Rs 11 crore and 70 lakhs as compensation to the revenue authorities which will further be disbursed to the people whose land has been acquired,” he informed.
He said, “This year, we are going to install chain link fencing in acquired area and accordingly tenders will be floated. Maintenance activities are in progress.”
He also said that they have also planned sewerage and bio-gas plant etc for public by next year in a bid to promote tourism in the area.
A revenue official said that they have deposited the compensation amount in the court as the farmers were not ready to take it demanding enhancement of the amount.
It may be recalled here that the Gharana village is being developed for tourism purpose following Government’s plans to attract tourism in Suchetgarh .
Meanwhile, DDC Member Suchetgarh, Taranjit Singh Tony said he was protesting as the officials made a bid to encroach the land in possession of farmers through fencing exercise, dishonouring the status quo order given by a double bench of the High Court. He asked the government to meaningfully act in the direction of developing the Gharana Wetland for ensuring socio-economic upliftment of the people.
While demanding the development of the aforesaid bird sanctuary, which is home to thousands of migratory birds hailing from central Asia and parts of Europe, the DDC member demanded that adequate compensation be given to the farmers whose land chunks will come under this project.