J&K HC orders retrieval of 1058 kanals of Kahcharai land in Chichilora village from illegal occupants
Srinagar: There is common refrain among the rural communities in Kashmir of ‘Kahcharai’ (grazing land) being usurped by a mafia in collusion with officers from Revenue department.
Taking a prompt action on a petition of the similar nature, the J&K High Court Saturday directed the authorities to retrieve the 1058 kanals of Kahcharai land of Chichilora village of Baramulla district from illegal occupants.
Pertinently the sole purpose of Kahcharai land in terms of law is only for grazing purposes, not otherwise.
Justice Sanjeev Kumar, who heard the writ petition, directed a notice against the Union Territory of J&K through Commissioner-Secretary Revenue Department, Principal Secretary Planning Development & Monitoring Department, Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police, Baramulla and the Tehsildar Kawarhama.
“In the meanwhile, subject to objections and till next date before the bench, Tehsildar Kawarhama District Baramulla is directed to ensure that the entire Kahcharai land available in Village Chichiloora Tehsil Kawarhama, District Baramulla, is retrieved from the illegal occupants,” directed Justice Kumar.
He also sought a report in this regard on the next date of hearing of the case.
Petitioners, the residents of Chichiloora said that their village has 1058 kanals of Kahcharai land recorded under Khasra no 81.
“Our Kahcharai land has been encroached by certain influential people and presently only few kanals of said land are available on the spot, on which the government is now constructing a playground,” reads their petition.
The petitioners challenged the construction on the grazing land without following the procedure by the concerned authorities.
It said the petitioners village Chichiloora comprises of near about 1000 families/‘choolhas’ (households) and they own sheep, cow and goats and other domestic animals for supporting their livelihood.
Employment opportunities in villages are scanty and from ages together the villagers have been committed to farming and allied activities which forms their major income source, the villagers petitioned.
“Our animals are dependent on natural grazing which is available to us in the land now obstructed by the respondent authorities,” they said adding “this grazing facility is being enjoyed by the petitioners and their families together since times immemorial”.
The villagers said that they are not opposing the construction of playground but want a due course of law be followed in acquiring their Kahcharai land and that they be compensated for this land.
Pleas to the authorities to restore the grazing land have fallen on deaf ears, they said adding “the Sub Division Magistrate Kawarhama is threatening the petitioners with dire consequences,” their counsel R A Bhat told the court.
He said “the petitioners this year approached the respondent Tehsildar for obtaining revenue extracts with an application and the said Tehsildar marked said letter but the concerned Patwari for some vested interests is dodging the villagers.”
Appreciating that spaces for the children and youth have been squeezed in Kashmir, Justice Kumar directed the respondent authorities to “expedite the construction of playground”.