For 8 yrs, several officers shut eyes towards grave issue
JAMMU, Aug 6: The administration has ordered eviction of encroachment on huge chunk of land in the outskirts of winter capital, which was made in connivance with the field functionaries of the Revenue Department nearly 10 years back. Moreover, directions have been issued for deletion of wrong entries in the revenue record made by the accused officials in blatant violation of the standing instructions of the Financial Commissioner Revenue.
Interestingly, this encroachment was exposed more than eight years back but during all these years the concerned officers preferred to either shut eyes towards the issue or delay the action despite being aware of the fact that the encroachers had no legal ground to continue with their illegal possession.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that in the year 1994-95, the Forest Department raised a plantation closure on the land retrieved due to change of course of Chenab river in village Garkhal and Kanachak. The closure was raised over 460 kanals of land in Khasra No.609 min at village Rajpura (Marh).
However, in the year 2006 the then Patwari Bodh Raj Sharma clandestinely and by abusing his official position and in contravention of the directions issued by the Financial Commissioner J&K through Circular No. FC/LS/Misc-1648/97 dated December 12, 1997 recorded the illegal possession of two encroachers namely Bua Ditta, son of Dhani Ram of Rajpura and Ram Pal, son of Parmanand of R S Pura in respect of 40 kanals of land, which was part of the forest closure comprised in Khasra No.609.
This is notwithstanding the fact that Financial Commissioner Revenue had debarred the Patwaries from entering illegal possession/Khasra Girdawari in respect of State land.
Ever since the recording of illegal entry of 40 kanals in favour of two land grabbers, a public spirited person Satish Kumar Sharma, son of Mela Ram Sharma of Rajpura camp left no stone unturned to persuade the authorities of Revenue and Forest Departments to evict the encroachers. Even the Project Officer of Forest Closure brought the issue to the notice of the then Divisional Commissioner Jammu vide communication No.86-87 dated February 12, 2008.
Thereafter, one after another representation was made right from Deputy Commissioner to the then Revenue Minister and Chief Minister but the encroachment remained intact because of dilly-dallying approach of the concerned authorities, who either shut eyes towards the issue or preferred to delay the action, sources said.
This is notwithstanding the fact that the Assistant Commissioner (Revenue) Jammu vide his communication No.DCJ/ACR/R/2010-11/322-24 dated December 4, 2010 submitted his report to the then Deputy Commissioner Jammu wherein he confirmed illegal possession with regard to 40 kanals of State land.
Recently, the complainant-Satish Kumar Sharma again raised the issue with the Commissioner Secretary Revenue, Commissioner Secretary Forest, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Deputy Commissioner Jammu and others through his counsel Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmad mentioning that any further delay in eviction of encroachment would compel him to knock at the doors of the High Court.
Now, the district administration has come to the conclusion after thorough examination of the record that plantation closure was established over State land falling under Khasra No.609 (old) of Khata No.713 under Khewat No.287 of village Rajpura in 1994-95. After settlement of village, illegal entry was recorded in favour of Bua Ditta and Ram Pal over 40 kanals of land which was also a part of forest closure.
As per the Assistant Revenue Attorney in new Record of Rights for the year 2006, Khasra No. 480 (new) and 609 (old) was recorded ‘Sarkar’ in Khewat No.267 under Khata No.713 while in tenant column 40 kanal of land was recorded under the cultivation of Bua Ditta and Ram Pal in equal share as illegal occupants. Assistant Revenue Attorney has further submitted that prior to settlement, no entry existed in favour of Bua Ditta and others with respect to Kh No.609 (old).
“This entry is found recorded in new Record of Rights during the process of settlement arbitrarily without any corresponding mutation of the past. Therefore, the entry needs to be removed from the new Record of Rights on the grounds of being void abinitio”, the Deputy Commissioner Jammu, Simrandeep Singh said in his order while placing reliance upon the Supreme Court order in the case of Jagpal Singh Versus State of Punjab wherein the Apex Court has passed categoric instructions regarding removal of encroachments from common lands.
Describing impugned entry in ROR as nothing less than the encroachment, the Deputy Commissioner, while accepting the case under Section 32 of Land Revenue Act, has ordered that the wrong entries in favour of Bua Ditta and Ram Pal over 40 kanals of land shall be deleted and recorded in favour of Forest Closure. He has directed the Tehsildar Marh to ensure eviction of encroacher from the ground as well.