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Lack of coordination among departments leads to encroachment of forests
3/21/2019 10:41:38 PM
Early Times Report
Srinagar, Mar 21: Lack of coordination between various government departments has been leading to encroachments upon the forest land in Jammu and Kashmir.
In its report, the government says that lack of coordination between the Forest and Revenue department has "encouraged" people to encroach upon the forest land.
The report says that at most of the places the forest land has not been demarcated due to lack of coordination between these two departments.
Official data reveals that thousands of kanals of forest land have been encroached over the years and half of the forests are open without any demarcation. The recorded forest area is 20230 sq. kms, which constitutes 19.95 % of geographical area of the state. However, 240580 kanals of forest land is under encroachment of which 68080 kanals fall in Kashmir valley and around 172500 in Jammu region, the Forest department data reveals.
Official sources said, in 1947 the total forest area in J&K was 26,900 sq. kms which has now been reduced to less than 18,000 sq kms.
Government in 2011 approved the Forest Policy for J&K aimed to preserve the forests and retrieve the land from encroachers, but there is no visible change on the ground.
As per the Policy, the government will retrieve forest land from encroachers and will upgrade and maintenance of demarcation records in digital format on GIS using remote sensing technology.
For effective protection of forest land, government in the Forest Policy has mentioned that land records of Revenue department will be reconciled with demarcation record of Forest department in a time bound manner starting with highly vulnerable areas. "Existing boundary pillars will be strengthened and their locations will be recorded using global positioning system and other modern technologies," it said.
But official sources said no efforts have been made in this regard and demarcation of forest land is yet to be done.
An official said, "We are committed to retrieve forest land from encroachers and ensure there is proper implementation of the Forest Policy in the state."
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