DC admits land belonged to State, SVO seeks demarcation;HC grants 3-weeks for filing Minister’s reply
JAMMU: Making a sensational plea that the Revenue Department is favouring BJP Minister A G Kholi, who is allegedly running a commercial complex on over 10 kanals forests land in Sunjwan area in Jammu outskirts, the State Vigilance Organisation on Friday sought joint demarcation of the land by the Revenue and Forest Departments while submitting its Status Report in J&K High Court.
Advocate Ankur Sharma, who filed a petition against the BJP Minister alleging that he has grabbed over 10 Kanals of forest land, under Khasra No. 356/Min situated at Nowabad, Sunjwan, Jammu, stated that the Deputy Commissioner Jammu has, for the first time, admitted this piece of land belongs to the State. He alleged that a multi storey building complex has been constructed on this piece of land, where from the minister is running B.Ed/ETT College, Para-Medical Institution, B.N School and ATM of J&K Bank.
“This is not proprietary but a forest land”, said Advocate Ankur.
He quoted report of the Deputy Commissioner, Jammu vide letter No. DCJ/ PS/ 2016/189 dated May 30, 2016, which forms part of the SVO Status Report, stating, “Please refer your letter No. SSP/2015/HLP/3171/VIJ dated July 20, 2015, in connection with the above cited subject. In that regard, kindly find below the replies to the queries raised by you. On the basis of the report of a Special Demarcation Team, it is submitted that the land, where Bee Enn Educational Institution and other related infrastructure is located, is State Land falling in Khasra No. 264 of Village Channi Rama. The said Survey number has a total of 1975 Kanals and 19 Marlas of land, all of which is State land and stands encroached and heavily built upon, for past several years. The said demarcation team comprised Tehsildar Bahu, Tehsildar Consolidation, Jammu, Naib Tehsildar, Bahu, Naib Tehsildar Rakh Bahu, Naib Tehsildar Bishnah and the Patwaris of Sunjwan and Channi Rama. The Revenue team has conducted the demarcation on the basis of the field book.”
The SVO’s Status Report further reads as ” as per the records, the Deputy Commissioner, Jammu vide Order No. 154 of DCJ dated Dec 26, 2015 had constituted a 7-member special demarcation team with DFO Jammu as convenor for submitting a concrete uniform report in the matter for replying the questionnaire of SVCO. However, the scrutiny of the report furnished by the Deputy Commissioner, Jammu vide letter No. DCJ/PS/2016/89 dated May 30, 2016 reveals that the report has not been submitted by the team constituted by the Deputy Commissioner, Jammu vide Order No. 154 dated Dec 26, 2015 headed by DFO Jammu as convenor. It, however, mentions that the demarcation was conducted by the team comprising Tehsildar Bahu, Tehsildar Consolidation Jammu, Naib Tehsildar Bahu, Naib Tehsildar Rakh Bahu, Naib Tehsildar Bishnah and the Patwaries of Sunjwan and Channi Rama. The report does not make any mention of the key members of the demarcation team, constituted vide Order No. 154 of DCJ dated December 26, 2015 by Deputy Commissioner, Jammu, nor does it have signatures on the report/Aks Shajra. The report does not also carry the signatures of the DFO Jammu, who had been designated as Convenor of the demarcation team.
The matter was accordingly taken up with the DFO Jammu, vide No. SSP/2016/ HLP/2495/VOJ dated June 13, 2016 and clarification had been sought on certain points in light of the report, furnished by the Deputy Commissioner, Jammu.
In his response, DFO Jammu vide No. DFO/J/2668 dated July 7, 2016 intimated to the SVO that due to absence of the Revenue staff he could not complete the demarcation and the report submitted by Deputy Commissioner or the Aks Massavi generated by the demarcation team has neither been shared with him nor was he involved in the preparation of this report.
The DFO informed that some portion of the forest land, out of Khasra No. 356 falls under the area under enquiry.
“There are three reports of DFO Jammu on record which include the reports submitted by DFO Jammu vide No. 538-40/Dmr-J dated August 7, 2015, No. DFO-J/2668 dated 07-07-2016 and the reply submitted by Forest Department in response to starred A.Q. No.414 in the Legislative Assembly which are contradictory.
Further, demarcation report submitted by Deputy Commissioner, Jammu vide No. DCJ/PS/2016/189 dated 30.05.2016 mentions that the land under enquiry falls under Khasra No. 264 which is state land and the built-up area is contradictory, which needed clarifications before framing a final opinion into the matter. Accordingly, the matter was again taken-up with Deputy Commissioner, Jammu for clarification in light of contradictory reports. The reply is still awaited.
“The DFO Jammu has also been requested to provide copy of Aks Massavi of Forest Department for comparison with Aks Massavi prepared by the special Demarcation Team during the course of demarcation. Hence, status report is submitted for favour of kind perusal,” it added.
Meanwhile, the Division Bench of J&K High Court, comprising Justice B S Wali and Justice Dheeraj Singh Thakur, after hearing counsels for the Minister and Advocates Sunil Sethi and S K Shukla and petitioner Advocate Ankur Sharma, granted three weeks time for filing the minister’s reply.