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LAND MAFIA EYEING PRIZED FOREST LAND IN PAHALGAM.

Posted by hwopahalgam on August 6, 2017 at 4:50 AM

LAND MAFIA EYEING PRIZED FOREST LAND IN PAHALGAM.

Pahalgam October 09,2016.

A number of people had fraudulently got plots issued in their names and had taken possession of land in forest block of Pahalgam compartments like34,L,35a L,35b L and 36 under the cover of the gazette 60c of 1944 issued by housing department . Some revenue,forest officers officials along with politically influential people are now trying to alter the revised Pahalgam master plan 2014-2032 and get these plots under permissible land.

60 c of 1944 is however a sub judicio matter as Himalayan Welfare Organization, Pahalgam had taken it to the court and we appeal to the government to take strict note of the same and prevent these people from manipulating rules in their favour. These people want to first grab forest land and then build huge commercial constructions on it, ruining the environment and thus need to be stopped at all cost and these people should know that we will not remain quiet about it and will pursue the matter both, in the court and in media and do our best to stop them at any cost.

Our past course of action about 60c of 1944 pahalgam

Apparently the forests department is demarcating boundary for the land on the upper side near hotel highland to KP road, KP Road to Circuit Road Near Shiv Ram, From Pine Cliff to Sarbal upper side of lidder river in Pahalgam. We fail to understand how because this land is clearly under forests, then how did all the people who've built hotels in this stretch get the necessary permission to come up with hotels on this land. While some of these hotels built on non-forest land-units may be operating with due permits, huts and hotels on certain other patches, built on forests land are clearly illegal. If this is so, this is a clear contravention of the provisions of the forests act. As it appears in revenue records,if some people have been allotted plots under 60C 1944, which is clearly illegal if this land belongs to forests. Under whose orders was land allotted to these people in under forest areas?? Allocation under forest compartments 34, 35a, 35b Ldr, is also similarly forest land and is being given away by the revenue department suspiciously and needs to be re-looked at.

If the revenue department has allotted these plots to certain people in exchange for other pieces of land, how did they get forest land while the revenue department and forest says it has not surrendered any forest land till date!

Further, the forest block in Phalgam were demarcated in forest compartment in 1931 and this is clearly evident in the records of the forest demarcation wing. The demarcation carried out in 1965 also shows the said land as forest land and cutting out plots form this land is clearly a blatant violation of the provisions of the forests act and forest and wildlife conservation norms as specified under various United Nations conventions, of which India is a signatory. The Himalayan Welfare Organization, Pahlgam has recently sent a legal notice to the forest department, reminding them of their legal obligation to not cut out any plots from this land, the carrying out of which will have disastrous consequences for the local environment and is bound to cause severe ecological imbalance.

Now when the revised Master 2014-2032 Plan is ready to be approved, the land Mafia has come out of its hiding-holes and are waiting to pounce upon the opportunity to trade environmental sustainability of the region for petty personal gain, the pursuit of which will very quickly and inevitably lead to an Uttarakhand like situation in the valley.

Shockingly, in what appears to be sinister conspiracy, the revenue department is preparing to measure demarcate, allocate and transact these ecologically sensitive lands which have so far been under forests. The question is if these lands were under forests for 72 years since 1944, how can they be suddenly demarcated and allocated now, and why these people are suddenly reminded of taking possession of their lands after 72 years? Clearly there is something fishy in this.

We appeal to the civil society and media to join hands to strongly raise the issue and build up a wider agitation against this immensely sensitive and pressing matter, as more and more people are likely to join the game of land-grab if these vested interests are not stopped immediately.

The forest department has made it clear in response to an RTI reply vide number:240-41 dated:23-10-2015 by HWO that it has not surrendered any forest land for commercial or other uses at pahalgam esp in forest comptt 34, 35a, 35b, 35c 36 ldr etc . How is it then, that some people have illegally encroached upon forest land under 60c of 1944 without forest depts consent and some have undertaken construction on this land while forest pillers number 33 and 34 etc show this land as part of forest area.

We appeal to the government, particularly the forest department to take immediate note and strict action against these offenders and issue orders to reclaim forest land restrain these offenders who want to illegally grab forest land from any further encroachment of and construction on forest land.

We also appeal to the government to bring these offenders to the book for causing deforestation and cutting down standing green trees in clear contravention of the provisions of the forests conservation act.

Mushtaq Pahalgami ,

Social,Environmental,Civil Rights Activist

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