January 2020 News

Govt Decides To Go Whole Hog To Retrieve Encroached Land Across UT

27 January 2020
The Daily Excelsior
Mohinder Verma

Jammu: Government has decided to go whole hog for retrieval of encroached State and Kahcharai land in the length and breadth of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and specific directions in this regard have been issued to all the field functionaries of the Revenue Department. Moreover, all the Deputy Commissioners have been explicitly told to lay special focus not only on retrieval of the land but also on making necessary corrections in the revenue records. Official sources told EXCELSIOR that though from time to time instructions were issued to the field functionaries of the Revenue Department to give top priority to the removal of encroachments from the State and Kahcharai land yet such a drive never continued uninterruptedly mainly because of non-serious approach of the Revenue officials. The issue of encroachment on huge chunk of land also came up for discussion during the developmental review taken by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah during his visit to Jammu and Kashmir in the month of June last year. Accordingly, stress was laid on anti-encroachment drive so that sufficient Government land is available for the developmental projects. Thereafter, the issue was debated upon in numerous meetings of the Committee of Secretaries and finally Government has directed the Revenue Department to launch sustained anti-encroachment drive and ensure that all the encroachers are served notices in the first instances and in accordance with the directions issued earlier, sources informed. 'The field functionaries of the Revenue Department have been explicitly told to consider removal of encroachments as priority task and submit progress reports to the respective Deputy Commissioners after regular intervals', they said, adding 'this time required attention will be paid towards retrieval of land and making necessary corrections in the revenue records'. The Deputy Commissioners have been asked by the Chief Secretary to ensure proper compliance to these directives so that in future nobody stakes claim over the retrieved State and Kahcharai land, sources further said, adding 'this has become imperative as there are numerous instances of fresh encroachments on the retrieved land by the land mafia in different parts of Jammu and Kashmir'. According to the sources, the Lieutenant Governor of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir Girish Chandra Murmu, who is also concerned over huge chunk of Government land remaining in the possession of encroachers, has also directed the Revenue Department to fix conspicuous 'Government land' signboards in and around all the State lands in a time bound manner. 'The Lieutenant Governor has further directed the officers to take immediate steps for demarcation of all such lands and make provision for constructing boundary walls around them along with plantation of trees', sources further informed, adding 'it is only in the absence of proper signboards and demarcation that common masses don't come to know about the activities of the encroachers on the State land'. They said, 'no doubt the decision of the Government to go whole hog to retrieve the encroached land is a welcome step but the fact remains that the basic duty of the field functionaries of the Revenue Department is protection of State and Kahcharai land', adding 'had this basic duty been performed with sincerity land mafia and others would not have succeeded in encroaching upon vast Government land in the length and breadth of Jammu and Kashmir'. 'The progress vis-a-vis removal of encroachments should be the yardstick to measure the performance of any field functionary of the Revenue Department and their immediate senior officers in order to make them accountable', sources stressed and hoped that this aspect would receive the due attention of the Government. When contacted, Dr Pawan Kotwal, Principal Secretary to Government, Revenue Department, who is also holding the additional charge of Financial Commissioner Revenue, confirmed that Government has decided to go whole hog to retrieve encroached land. 'The Government intends to retrieve the entire land within this year only and progress on this aspect will be reviewed after regular intervals', he added. 'There are specific instructions for leaving no stone unturned to take back each and every patch of State and Kahcharai land from the encroachers', he said in response to a question.