Shimla: Himachal Pradesh’ Forest Wealth is being pilfered as forest encroachers and greedy people are bullying honest citizens at gun point.
This was alleged by a petitioner who filled a PIL in the Himachal Pradesh High court to seek justice as forest and Administration showed lukewarm response to his Complaint. Now High Court has taken strict cognizance of the illegal occupation of government land in the said matter and is issuing a notice to defendant state and forest department.
The division bench of Acting Chief Justice Sabina and Justice Satyen Vaidya issued notices to the Principal Secretary of the Forest Department and other respondents during the preliminary hearing of a PIL filed by Theog resident Ramesh Thakur. The court has summoned reply from all the defendants within 21 days.
The petition states that the defendants Roshan Lal, Dhani Ram and Chetram are in illegal occupation of government land in village Sharmaltu. Dhani Ram and Chetram have axed thirty green trees from the government land. The stumps of tender trees was used used to raise fence on the encroached land. Taking sterns action on basis of documentary evidences placed before the courts by petitioner, court also passed an eviction orders against one Chet Ram.The Court had made very harsh observation against state forest department that green feeling and encroachment happened in connivance of Forest Department officials as encroachers are still in the illegal possession of the said land.
The allegation is that the private defendants are threatening the local people because they are having gun licences. No one dare to complain against the bully encroachers as they are creating terror among honest people by almost keeping keeping them at gun point.
Petitioner contended that it was out of fear that neither local forest officials nor local residents lodged complaint. The court has informed that the applicant had complained about this to the forest and police officers, but no action was taken against them. The applicant has demanded to pass an appropriate eviction order regarding the release of illegal encroachment of government land. Complaint also impleaded Principal Secretary Forest, Chief Conservator, Block Forest Officer, Forest Guard Shamrala, Deputy Commissioner and SP Shimla, SHO Theog, Roshan Lal, Dhani Ram and Chet Ram party. The matter would be listed for next after hearing after 21 days or three weeks. It is not solitary incidence of relentless green felling in the state forest department have number of complaint about green felling on private and forests lands in the state. During previous BJP government a Prime Forest witnessed blatant green felling in Shilonbag forest near Tourist resort Kufri.