Govt to act tough against timber smugglers

SRINAGAR: The Minister for Forest, Environment & Ecology and Social Welfare, Bali Bhagat, Saturday said the government will “deal sternly” with the elements involved in land grabbing and timber smuggling.
“A huge chunk of forest land is in the possession of land grabbers across the state and government has launched a massive campaign to get it vacated. The concerned officers in the Department have been given categorical instructions and a free hand to retrieve the encroached land in a time bound manner,” the Min¬ister said at a public meeting in Raipur-Domana constituency of Jammu region.
Any negligence on part of the officers will be viewed seriously and same will be reflected in their Annual Performance Reports (APRs), he added. He maintained that the “good work of the officers” will be duly acknowledged.
“The government will reward them suitably,” he said. The Minister said the reports of timber smuggling received from different quarters have been viewed seriously by the government. The authorities, he said, have been directed to maintain a close vigil on the activities of the timber smugglers to check the theft of green gold.
Maintaining that the PDP-BJP regime is committed to provide trans¬parent and accountable governance, he said the government will do its utmost to fulfill people’s expectations. He said the government has formulated a “well-knit strategy” to strengthen the existing facil¬ities, with special focus on improving the road connectivity, electricity, education, health services and drinking water.
About the Jammu-Akhnoor and Bantalab-Amb Gharota roads, Bhagat said that government of India has ap¬proved the 4-laning of Jammu-Akhnoor road and survey work will be completed within two months.
The Bantalab-Amb Gharota road (upto new Akhnoor bridge), he said, has also been approved under Central Road Fund and work will start soon.
These two roads are very important from traffic point of view, he said.