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Forest land grabbers

There have been several instances reported in the Valley for the last over a month now where people were booked for chopping off trees in the forests or encroaching upon the forest lands without any permission from the concerned department. There have been several instances where the forest land retrieval drives turned violent resulting in injuries to the staff of the forest department.

Such moves cannot be justified on any grounds. What is illegal remains to be illegal and what is legal remains so with no one able to prove otherwise. At the same time, there is a need for the Government to speed up the process of forest land retrieval from those in possession of it illegally. There should not be any differentiation between the rich and the poor. If the hoteliers have accumulated the forest land over the years, they need to be pushed back and the land needs to be retrieved—the same stands true for the poor as well.

However, at the same time, the nomadic population which occupies the upper reaches of the forest temporarily need not be touched as it has been their routine every year that they occupy spaces till they are ready to move ahead. They need not be touched. And at the places, where they have occupied the land illegally and permanently, there, the action warranted under rules needs to be taken come what may.

People need to understand that they will have to shun the greed which is forcing them to encroach upon the land which does not belong to them. At the same time, the concerned department needs to take stern action against the violators found anywhere.



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