STATE TIMES NEWSJAMMU: Division Bench of J&K High Court comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Puneet Gupta, while hearing a Public Interest Litigation, directed Forest and Revenue Departments to submit details of total Forest land and State land in Gulmarg area, alongwith details of land actually in possession of both the Departments and the extent and particulars of persons, who have illegally encroached the land.When the PIL came-up for hearing, it was informed by M A Chashoo, AAG, that in compliance to order dated August 10, 2020, the Chief Executive Officer, Gulmarg Development Authority has filed report giving details of leases on August 28, 2020.DB further observed that on August 24, 2020 in paragraphs 1 and 2 of the order it noted the status report dated August 11, 2020 filed by Shoukat Ahmad Kuthoo, Divisional Forest Officer Tangmarg, presenting details of encroachments by certain hoteliers but no action appears to have been taken in this regard.It was informed by M A Chashoo, AAG, that in terms of paragraph 8 of order dated August 24, 2020, the Chief Secretary has formed a Committee for resolving dispute between Forest and Revenue authorities under the Chairmanship of Divisional Commissioner Kashmir. DB further directed that the action taken report should be submitted before the bench on next date of hearing.During the course of hearing Adv Hakim Suhail, counsel for applicant highlighted contradiction in the reports of Deputy Commissioner Baramulla and Chief Executive Officer, Gulmarg Development Authority. It was pointed out by him that in the report of Deputy Commissioner Baramulla there are 18 structures which have no lease at all. DB directed that both these reports be placed before the newly constituted Committee headed by the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir who shall ensure that the matter is verified after physical inspection and true position is placed before the Court before the next date of hearing.DB further directed the CEO Gulmarg Development Authority to take action in accordance with law against all those persons who have violated building permission. A reply dated August 25, 2020 has been filed by the Divisional Forest Officer, Special Forest Division Tangmarg (Forest Department) in purported compliance of the order dated August 24, 2020 wherein it was noted that respondents refer to encroachments of various forest land without giving any details of same. Some of these encroachments are by major hoteliers in Gulmarg area. It appears that valuable forest land has been encroached and encroachments are being permitted to be perpetuated with impunity.Upon this, the Division Bench directed Forest and Revenue Departments to place details of total State and Forest Land in Gulmarg area; the details of the land which is in possession of Forest Department and the State Land which is in actual possession of State and details of the extent and particulars of the persons encroaching the land within two weeks.
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