STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: With Forest Minister Lal Singh having ‘grabbed the state land’ in Kathua for facilitating his son to set up Rs 12 crore Tiles Unit, a big chunk of 45 kanals forest land at a prime location in Rajouri has been encroached. The forest officers are reported to have kept their eyes closed to facilitate the land encroachers.
Locals alleged that the forest land was encroached under the directions and patronage of the Forest Minister.
Acting on the complaint of Deputy Commissioner Rajouri, the State Vigilance Organisation on Thursday booked Revenue and Forest officers for being inactive in stopping the encroachment of forest land situated in village Kotli Kalaban, Rajouri after cutting trees.
The reveune officers in league with the forest officers attested the mutations under Cabinet order LB/06 showing possession of the encroachers since 1957-58, though the land had been encroached recently.
Director SVO Munir Khan said, “During verification of DC’s complaint, it has been found that the illegal entries were made in the State land under the occupation of Forest Department falling under Khasra No.364 which were subsequently expunged and record set right, but the illegal encroachers continued to be in occupation of the encroached land and the concerned officers/officials of Forest Department did nothing to evacuate the encroached land.”
Under Khasra No 364, the land measuring 25 Kanals 15 Marlas was illegally mutated under LB-6 and S-432 vide mutation No.497 and 500 respectively in favour of Mohammad Bashir and his brothers, all sons of Bassu by then concerned Patwari namely Maqsood-ul-Hassan and have conferred illegal ownership rights.
Another chunk of land measuring 20 kanals out of above Khasra number has also been illegally shown allotted in the revenue record in favour of one Mohd. Yaqoob, son of Sher Dil without any allotment order by then Patwari Halqa Ghambir Mughlan namely Nisar Hussain.
The two mutations shown attested under LB-6 and S-432 conferring the ownership rights upon Mohd. Bashir and others in respect of forest land measuring 25 Kanals 15 Marlas and entry of allotment in respect of 20 kanals of forest land in favour of Mohd. Yaqoob have been made by the above named revenue officials and identified Naib Tehsildar by abuse of their official position, with dishonest intention and in connivance with the concerned forest officers/officials, beneficiaries.
FIR 07/2017 has been registered under Section 5(1) (d) read with 5(2) J&K P.C. Act Samvat 2006 and sections 466, 167 and 120-B RPC on the prima facie establishment of offences.
“Involvement of senior forest officers surfaced during the preliminary investigations,” said Director Khan, adding “no one will be spared irrespective of his position.
Locals have alleged that the role of Forest Minister should be probed as forest officers kept mum during the encroachment despite number of complaints and protests.
Here it is relevant to mention that the Forest Minister is himself facing serious allegations for land grabs. A PIL has been filed by Rattno Devi and 23 others, all inhabitants of village Dhanna of tehsil Basohli in district Kathua through Advocate Ankur Sharma, seeking cancellation of all NOCs issued in favour of Forest Minister’s, son Divya Suraj Partap Singh, who is raising Rs 12 crore Stone Crusher and Tiles Unit on the paddy growing irrigated agricultural land near thickly populated area.
On July 28, 2016, the High Court had ordered status quo on construction of Stone Crusher and Tiles Unit.
Advocate Ankur Sharma said, the Forest Minister Lal Singh has also managed NOCs from State Pollution Control Board, Jammu as he himself is the minister concerned.”
“In documents, the stone crusher has been shown set up over 7 Kanals of land while on ground it is spread over 100 kanals of State land, encroached by the Minister’s son,” said Advocate Ankur Sharma.
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