Kashmir: 13,360 Hectares Forest Land Occupied

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Kashmir: 13,360 Hectares Forest Land Occupied
By: Tahir Mushtaq, Tiger News International
09 May 2012

Jammu—About 13,360 hectares of forest land is under encroachment in Jammu and Kashmir, with Jammu region topping the list having 9,469 hectares under illegal possession. On the other hand, in Kashmir Valley, 3,890 hectares has been encroached by land mafia.

Surprisingly, despite claims made by government of taking tough action against the land mafia, only 1,064 hectares have been [vacated over the] past two years.

As per the latest data provided by [the] Forest Department in [the] Legislative Assembly, 20,230 sq. kms of state land is under forest cover, with 12,066 sq. kms in Jammu division and 8128 sq. kms in the Kashmir Valley. [The r]est, 36 sq. kms, fall in [the] Ladhak region.

Data say that, during 2009–10, revenue of Rs11,303.529 lakhs [Rs1,130,352,900, or €16,169,600] have been realized from various departments, while during 2010–11, […] revenue collection was Rs11,090.891 lakhs [Rs1,109,089,100, or €15,865,400].

“There has been substantial increase in the forest revenue in the department. As regards [the] State Forest Corporation (SFC), the constant decrease in revenue is mainly due to decreased availability of marking in forests, poor quality of markings of dry fallen, diseased trees and standard size timber,” Forest Minister Mian Altaf has said,

Government has stated that imported timber in the market [at] the cheaper rate has also affected the sale prospects of SFC, which is major selling of timber in the state.

However, there is still concern over nonrecoverable dues from various government departments, as many of the cases are sub judice in various courts and forums.

“Effective steps and vigorous follow-up as provided under law are underway for early realization of the recoverable arrears,” Altaf has said.

And outstanding against various government departments and public sector undertaking, the SFC has requested time and [a]gain at various levels. “The concerned departments, undertaking did not liquidate the same. Besides the matter was taken many time[s] with the Finance Department, wherein they were requested that [the] outstanding amount should be deduced in [a] budget allocation from the concerned department and [the] same should be remitted to SFC,” the government says.

Original article

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