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130.5 hectares of encroached land retrieved from illegal occupants: Govt

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Jammu, Jul 23: Government today claimed to have retrieved 130.5 hectares from illegal occupation in Jammu and Rajouri districts, days after Governor N N Vohra expressed concern over the encroachment of over 90,000 hectares of state land and directed for effective measures to deal with the problem.

While 1590 kanals (79.5 hectares) was retrieved in Akhnoor sub-division of Jammu district, another major chunk of 1020 kanals (51 hectares) of encroached land of Animal Husbandry department was recovered in Rajouri district over the past two days, said a government spokesman.

Last week, Vohra directed all district collectors to immediately carry out a comprehensive mapping of all encroachments relating to State, Forest and Panchayat lands, water-bodies, highways and public roads in their respective jurisdictions and forward the same through the Divisional Commissioners of Kashmir and Jammu by July 31.

Expressing concern over the encroachment of over 18 lakh kanals of government land in the state, Vohra had also directed the district collectors to make full use of available technologies, such as geo-tagging and satellite mapping, to prepare a fully verified database by the given date.

The spokesman said Rajouri district administration retrieved the encroached land, which was once used for fodder cultivation by the department, at Wand Mora Lam area of tehsil QilaDarhal yesterday.

A team of over a dozen magistrates, 300 police personnel and officials of Animal Husbandry department carried out the anti-encroachment drive which remained by and large peaceful with no untoward incident barring a few minor scuffles, he said.

A day earlier, the spokesman said an anti-encroachment drive was conducted in Sub-Division Akhnoor in Jammu district during which 1590 kanals of encroached State, Kacharai and common land was retrieved at Amabaran, Sungal, Gurha Jagir and Palwan villages.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNP) today welcomed the initiative and said the retrieval of such illegally occupied lands could be possible only under the Governor rule in the state.

“The 18 lakh kanal of government land could not have been usurped by encroachers in the state without the backing and connivance of rulers with political and other influential persons holding prime lands without any lawful authority,” JKNP chairman Harsh Dev Singh said.

Pointing towards the Roshini Act enacted in 2005-2006 by the then government for realization of targeted revenue of Rs 25,000 crore by regularization of such un-authorized holdings, Singh said merely an amount of Rs 76 crore was realized with the “illegal encroachments still continuing to remain in the possession of the powerful land mafia.”

“With several top politicians, ex-ministers, MLAs and MPs having encroached huge tracts of government land, a beginning was required to be made by evicting these mighty and powerful people who had abused their position and authority in the past to loot the state and its resources,” he said.

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