Monday, April 18, 2016

Gujarat: 3.7k ha pastoral land encroached

| TNN |
Gandhinagar: Despite the Supreme Court (SC) and high court's several directions, the Gujarat government is not being able to remove encroachments from Gauchar (pastoral) land in hundreds of villages. As per the official records available, there are more than 5,000 encroachments on the pastoral land. According to the official records of panchayat and rural development, 3,700 hectare land across the state has been encroached upon. Ironically, the state government has expressed its inability to remove the encroachment.

Jayantibhai Kavadiya, minister of state, panchayat and rural development department, said, "As per the Gujarat Panchayat Act 1993, clause 105, the removal of pastoral land encroachment is duty of local village Panchayat. Taluka development officer gives instructions for removal of encroachments and gives instructions to talati-mantari every month.''

The SC in January 2011 had ordered for putting strict restriction on the sale of Gauchar land of the state and removing the encroachment from it. The SC order had said, "Pastoral land and other community resources belonging to a village shall not be given for industrial or commercial use and should strictly be used for communities' use".

The SC had directed all the state governments to formulate schemes for eviction of illegal and unauthorized occupants of land meant for gram sabha, gram panchayat and other community uses. The SC said, "Long duration of such illegal occupation or huge expenditure on constructions thereon or political connections must not be treated as a justification for condoning this illegal act or for regularizing the illegal possession".

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