Forest official suspended, another taken off duty during anti-encroachment drive in J-K's Doda

Bhadarwah/Jammu, Apr 26 (PTI) A forest official was suspended and another taken off duty on Sunday as a special team retrieved five hectares of encroached land in Bhadarwah Forest Division.

The team also seized 400 cubic feet (cft) of illicit timber and started measures to retrieve another 20 hectares of the encroached forest land, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Bhadarwah, Chander Shekhar told PTI.

Taking note of illegal activities during the coronavirus-induced lockdown, a joint team of the forest department and Forest Protection Force (FPF) carried out an anti-encroachment drive in Bhallesa and Chiralla ranges, he said.

'The department retrieved 100 kanals (20 hectares) of forest land from five encroachers in compartment number 3 of Chiralla range besides recovering 250 cft and 150 cft in compartment No 51 and Compartment No 48 in Bhallesa range, respectively,' the DFO said.

Quoting inputs from the field staff, he said encroachment on 400 Kanals (20 hectares) of forest land has been reported in the division and efforts are on to retrieve the land from the encroachers.

'When the entire world is fighting against the deadly virus, it is unfortunate that some people are trying to take advantage of the situation for their vested interests. We will not allow it to happen,' he said.

Shekhar said the department has increased the surveillance and had set up half-a-dozen village forest committees to demarcate the forest land and identify the land grabbers in Chiralla and Bhallesa ranges so that appropriate action is taken against them.

The officer said a beat guard, posted in Dhossa, has been placed under suspension, while a block officer has been attached to his office pending enquiry for their failure to check the illegal activities. PTI CORR TAS CK