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Many officials of J&K Forest Department under scanner after suspension of DFO

Last Updated on May 21, 2021 at 5:00 pm

Government of Jammu and Kashmir ordered for suspension of DFO Forest Division Jammu Alok Kumar Maurya (IFS) over alleged dereliction of duties and  have failed to implement the directions of Court.

Suspension of Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Jammu on the directions of Lieutenant Governor is just a beginning as other officials are also on edge who failed to implement the directions given by High to retrieve land from encroachers, even after a lapse of seven months. 

According to sources, DFO Jammu had conducted an anti-encroachment drive in Sunjwan Forest Compartment number 4/c, in which the department claimed to have demolished one structure and retrieved seven Kanal of Forest land.

But the structure as well as the seven Kanal of land retrieved by the Forest division actually belonged to a senior office bearer of the Non Governmental Organization (NGO), who had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) for retrieval of Forest land from encroachers, according to sources.

In the order dated 07.10.2020, the High Court directed that – “Let the respondents also file a report before us giving the action taken to retrieve the land from the 50 largest encroachers (in terms of size of the land encroached) before the next date of hearing” following which the status of retrieval of encroached Forest Land was reviewed by authorities on 30th April, 2021 and it was observed that in Jammu Forest Division ‘no tangible action’ has been taken to effectively demonstrate the compliance of the directions of High Court, as regards the eviction and retrieval of the encroached Forest Lands, it says.

Since the work was just put on papers and no action was taken so the department acted. Alok Kumar Maurya, IFS, DFO Jammu Forest Division ‘failed to comply with the directions’ of High Court in retrieving and securing the encroached Forest Lands and evidently, his inaction has further delayed evictions and retrieval of the encroached lands leading to his suspension.

Also, the axe is likely to fall on several other officers of the Forest department as many of them have so far failed to comply with directions issued by the High Court, seven months back.