On 20 May, the Jammu and Kashmir government has placed the DFO Forest Division Jammu Alok Kumar Maurya (IFS) under suspension over alleged dilapidation of duties and successive failures on the consent of the High Court’s direction concerning the encroachment of forest land.
A government order number 59 JK (FST) of 2021 Dated:19/05/2021 reads “a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) No 25/2017, is pending before High Court of J&K, and during hearings, numerous orders have been issued regarding encroachment of forest lands, in which the forest department was directed to submit details of the persons in unauthorized occupation of forest land, post the details of forest lands encroached on the website of Forest Department and also directed to take action to expel the encroachers from the land.
Jammu & Kashmir High Court in an order dated 07/10/2020 has stated that “Let the respondents also file a report before us giving the action taken to retrieve the land from the 50 largest encroachers before the next date of hearing.” It also stated that the status of retrieval of encroached land forest land was reviewed by authorities on 30th April 2021 and it was seen that in Jammu Forest Division ‘no substantial action’ has been taken to strictly demonstrate the compliance of the directions of J&K High Court, as regards the eviction and retrieval of forest lands that were encroached.
The government in its order stated, “Alok Kumar Maurya, IFS, DFO, Jammu Forest Division has failed to comply with the orders of J&K High Court in retrieving and securing the encroached forest lands, his inactions have further delayed evictions and retrieval of encroached forest lands evidently.” The order further stated, “In fact, he (A.K. Maurya) has departed in performing his authorized duties, as Divisional Forest Officer, for retrieving and securing the encroached forest lands, including retrieval and restoration of the forest lands from grasps of the identified encroachers.”
Now that’s why pending an inquiry into the matter, “Alok Kumar Maurya, DFO, Jammu is hereby placed under suspension for dereliction of duties and for his abject failure to comply with directions of J&K High Court. The suspension shall be with immediate effect”, the concluding part of the order stated. In the period of his suspension, AK Maurya shall remain attached with the office of Principal Chief Conservator of Forests & HoFF, J&K (KNS).
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