2 Delhi officials suspended over encroachment of forest land

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New Delhi, Feb 19 (IANS) Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain on Tuesday ordered suspension of two Forest Department officials after finding large-scale encroachment on forest land in south Delhi during a surprise inspection.

“Inspected and found large-scale encroachment on ridge land near Chhatarpur Enclave Part-II. Directed the Forest Department to immediately call for JCB for encroachment removal and restoration of forest land,” Hussain tweeted.

During the inspection, a large chunk of ridge and forest land was found under encroachment and illegal occupation by private persons, the government said in a statement.

“Some of the recently built structures on the ridge land were also noticed by the Minister. The encroachment on ridge land was demolished later,” it said.

The Minister said while the government is making every effort to provide clean and fresh air to citizens, “certain vested interests are indulging in illegally occupying forest areas apparently in collusion with departmental officers/officials and thus causing irreparable damage to the ecosystem of Delhi.”

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Hussain ordered suspension of two Forest Range Officers for their failure to protect forest land and initiate action against encroachers and directed the Principal Chief Conservator (Forest) to seek an explanation from officers concerned for failing to detect and prevent such large-scale encroachment of forest and ridge land and initiate departmental action against the guilty.

He asked the Forest Department to file an FIR against encroachers and trespassers for initiation of action as per law, including for violation of relevant environment and forest laws, and to take immediate steps for protection and conservation of forest land by ensuring its proper fencing.

He also warned no instance of encroachment on the forest land will be tolerated by the government and strict action will be taken against not only encroachers but also officers found to be in collusion and connivance with land mafia.

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The Minister said similar surprise inspections will be carried out in other forest areas to check conservation and protection of forest land.

–IANS

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