Forest encroachment: Graft body declares it “burning issue”, decries lack of coordination

SRINAGAR: Lack of coordination between forest and revenue departments has resulted in encroachment of forestland in Jammu and Kashmir, state vigilance commission has said in a report.
The anti-graft watchdog has termed the encroachments as a ‘burning issue’.
“Dealing with complaints relating to the alleged encroachment of forestland at various places, it was observed that the lack of coordination between the forest and revenue departments has encouraged the people to encroach upon the forestland,” it said.
The anti-graft body has pointed out that the forestland at the majority of places has not been clearly demarcated, adding it retrieved 417 kanals from illegal encroachment.
According to official data, the state has 20,230 sq/kms of forest cover, constituting about 20% of the total geographical area. Of this, 68,080 kanals of forestland have been encroached upon in Kashmir alone while nearly 18000 kanals are under illegal occupation in Jammu.