Over 1300 Kanals Of Forest Land Encroached In Kashmir: RTI

(MENAFN- Kashmir Observer) Srinagar- In a shocking revelation around 1300 kanals of forest land in Kashmir division have either been encroached or are in the possession of private or government agencies, an Right to Information (RTI) revealed.

The information was sought by activist M M Shuja from the Department of Wildlife Protection, Jammu and Kashmir.


According to the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the regional wildlife warden of Dachigam and Hirpora, Shopian wildlife sanctuaries, the land was transferred to different agencies of the government. The RTI says that over 1000 square kms of forest land are demarcated in the Kashmir division.

According to the figures revealed through the RTI, the wildlife department, Shopian has transferred 0.711 kanals (0.036 hectares) in Tral wildlife sanctuary to Irrigation and flood control department of Jammu and Kashmir. The Public Works Department (PWD) has secured 1320 kanals (66.81 hectares) in Hirpora wildlife sanctuary in Shopian.

The data from the office of the wildlife warden central Division Dachigam, Srinagar reveals that the department has
transferred over 1.9768 (0.1 hectares) in Check Dhara to a government agency, while 9.231 kanals (0.467 hectares) of forest land has been provided for the water supply scheme in Sonamarg.

Read Also Community Participation in Sustainable Forest Management Encroachment Of Forests: J&K HC Seeks Govt's Response Sans 'Failure'

The Department of Wildlife Protection reported the demarcation of forest land in the Kashmir districts. The demarcated area encompasses over a thousand square kilometers, with specific allocations such as 141 square kilometers in Dachigam, 9.07 square kilometers in city forest, 15.75 square kilometers in Brein Nishat, and 34 square kilometers in Khimber, Dara, and Shahrasbal.

The RTI further reveals that Thajwas has 210 square kilometers of demarcated forest land, 12 square kilometres in Wangath, Chattergul, 50.25 square kilometers in Khrew and Khonmoh covers 67 square kilometers. In Shopian, the Department reported the demarcation of 341.25 square kilometers, while Pulwama has 154.15 square kilometers delineated.

It further says that there are no recorded cases of encroachment on forest land in the Srinagar district. The response specifically highlights that only one incident involving attempted illegal encroachment has been reported, occurring in the village of Laribal Shikargah, adjacent to the Tral Wildlife Sanctuary.

Last year, the Government of India designated three wildlife sanctuaries in Kashmir as“eco-sensitive zones” and instructed the Union Territory administration to promptly outline their boundaries.

A notification by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to constitute a monitoring committee for monitoring the Eco-sensitive Zone in the UT.

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