Pune to reclaim forest land | india | Hindustan Times
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Pune to reclaim forest land

india Updated: Mar 02, 2009 01:18 IST
Satyajit Joshi

Large-scale irregularities in allotment of forest land in Pune prompted District Collector Chandrakant Dalvi to call a meeting on March 10.

Forest Department officials will also attend the meeting.

HT had first reported on January 15 and 16 the recommendations of a high court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) concerning large-scale forest land irregularities in Pune district.

The CEC had observed that there had been a violation of the Indian Forest Act, 1927, and the Indian Forest Conservation Act, 1980, in the allotments.

Dalvi said the meeting had been called after a directive by the state government to do so.

“Our first job will be a joint venture between Revenue and Forest officials to identify such forest lands as have been allotted flouting rules and the relevant act,” Dalvi said.

District collectorate sources, requesting anonymity because of lack of authorisation to pass on information to the media, said such transactions might number in the hundreds it might take quite a few months to complete the exercise.

About the structures which might have come up on illegally allotted forestland, Dalvi said the government order was clear and all such forestland would be restored to its previous state.

In other words, buildings that came up on such allotments stand to be demolished.

The CEC observations had mentioned irregular forestland allotments to private parties in areas such as Kothrud, Undir, Wadgaon Dhayri, Lohegaon, Wanoworie and Kondhwa.

Forest Department sources, who also requested anonymity, said their department had no records of these lands, which were allotted by the Revenue Department, as forestlands.

The illegal transactions had surfaced after a Pune-based non-governmental organisation, Nagrik Chetana Manch, filed a public interest litigation (PIL) against the government for allotment of a few hectares of land to Richie Rich Society in Kondhwa in violation of forest laws.

Deputy Conservator of Forest, Pune, Ashok Khadse was suspended as one irregularity after another began surfacing during the PIL hearings.