13 farmers encroached upon forest land in Himachal: HC told

As many as 13 farmers have encroached upon more that 20 acres of land in Rohru area here, chief conservator (forests) told the Himachal Pradesh High Court today.

The court was informed that the maximum encroachment of 345.54 bigha land had been done by Moti Ram, followed by Ashok Kumar (318.96 bigha ) and Champa Devi (292 bigha).

The HC had directed the conservator of forests to file an affidavit and give the names of those farmers who have encroached upon more than five bigha of land.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Sandeep Sharma asked the divisional forest officer, sub divisional magistrate and tehsildar to file an affidavit within two weeks, giving detailed information about the steps taken to stop encroachment of forest lands.

The Himachal Pradesh government told the court that the encroachments on forest land throughout the state were being removed. It said that 102 encroachments had been removed between January 16 and February 15 this year, and the information uploaded on the state's website.

The state government had also prepared a policy to give relief to the farmers who have encroached five bigha or less forest land, but the move is yet to get a nod from the high court.

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