Government failed to retrieve 80 per cent encroached forest land

Government failed to retrieve 80 per cent encroached forest land

Jammu: The government has failed to retrieve over 80 per cent of the encroached forest land throughout the state, while it managed to retrieve around 20 percent of the encroachments in the last three years.
In a written reply to the question raised by the BJP legislator for Jammu East Rajesh Gupta, the government has disclosed that out of the total 14345 hectares of land encroached throughout the state only 1612.31 hectares of land have been retrieved from 2014-15 to 2016-17.
The government has also disclosed that out of the 14345 hectares, 9467.38 hectares which constitutes 66 percent of the total encroached land was in Jammu province and the rest 4877.62 hectares comprising 34 percent of the total encroached forest land is the Kashmir province.
The written reply by the Forest Minister Chowdhary Lal Singh has also thrown light on the district wise hectares of forest land encroached and retrieved in past three financial years including the present one.
According to the released data Rajouri district of Jammu province tops the forest land encroachment with 2554 hectares out of which 31.50 hectares have been retrieved in 2014-15 followed by 193.18 hectares in 2015-16 and 168.88 hectares in 2016-17 financial year. The total land retrieved in Rajouri district amounts to 393.56 hectares which comprises only 15.40 percent of the total forest land encroached in the district.
Rajouri district is followed by district Ramban of Jammu province with 2174.63 hectares of forest land under encroachment out of which only 254.5 hectares (11.7 percent) of the forest land have been retrieved by the government in last three financial years including the present one.
The Jammu district has seen retrieval of ‘zero’ hectares of land during present financial year as per the data provided by the government. Amongst the total 243 hectares of forest land under encroachment in the Jammu district only 82.55 hectares have been retrieved in last three financial years amounting to just 33.97 percent of the total encroached forest in the district.
In Kashmir valley’s Anantnag district which has 1885.57 hectares of forest land under encroachment the government data has revealed that only 77.25 hectares have been retrieved since last three financial years which amounts to just four percent of the total encroached forest land of the district.
Throwing light on the districts with lowest number of hectares of land under encroachment the government data has revealed that in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district 158.22 hectares of forest and have been encroached out of which 61.37 hectares have been evicted and retrieved by the government.
In Udhampur district which has 267.07 hectares of encroached forest land, 6.2 percent (16.77 hectares) have been retrieved. Similarly in Kathua district out of 291.12 hectares of encroached forest land, 16.28percent (47.42 hectares) of land have been retrieved with just 5.15 hectares being retrieved during the present financial year.
In Poonch district of Jammu province out of total 1814.50 hectares of encroached forest land, 17.37 percent (315.2 hectares) have been retrieved by the government so far. According to the data released by the government in Reasi district of Jammu province 84.27 percent (658.17 hectares) of the total 781.78 hectares of encroached forest land have been successfully retrieved by the government.
Interestingly out of the total 658.17 hectares of retrieved forest land from encroachments 593.89 hectares of land have been retrieved during the present financial year from Reasi district whose majority of population is Muslim but is represented in the Assembly by BJP leader and Minister of state for Finance Ajay Nanda.
In the twin districts of Doda and Kishtwar of Jammu province amongst the 837.78 encroached forest land in Doda district 63.63 percent (549.87 hectares) of land has been retrieved and in Kishtwar district out of the total 503.51 hectares of encroached forest land only 20.22 percent (101.83 hectares) of land have been retrieved during the past three financial years.
However the government data presents a completely contrasting picture in the Kashmir valley as compared to the Jammu province. While the total amount of land encroached is less in Kashmir valley than that in Jammu province the percentage of land retrieved in Kashmir valley is also lower at 8.12 percent as compared to 12.84 percent in the Jammu province.
In the twin districts of north Kashmir’s Baramulla and Bandipora districts out of the total 619.63 hectares of encroached land in the Baramulla district 10.79 percent (66.81 hectares) of the encroached land has been retrieved and in Bandipora out of the total 158.50 hectares of land encroached in the district 23.34 percent (37 hectares) of the forest land has been retrieved in past three financial years.
In the central Kashmir’s rural districts of Budgam and Ganderbal out of the total encroached forest land of 393.48 hectares in Budgam district only 1.92 percent (7.56 hectares) of land has been retrieved and similarly in Ganderbal district out of the total 489.95 hectares of encroached forest land 2.28 percent (11.18 hectares) of encroached forest land has been retrieved in the past three financial years including the present one.
In Shopian district out of the total 806.71 hectares of encroached forest land, 15.64 percent (126.25hectares) of the land has been retrieved so far and similarly in Kulgam district out of the total 365.55 hectares of land encroached in the area only 2.41 percent (8.82 hectares) of the forest land has been retrieved in past three financial years.

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