Pune forest department demolishes 44 illegal structures in massive anti-encroachment drive in Panchgaon Parvati
The forest department officials, led by deputy conservator of forests (DCF) Rangnath Naikade, cleared off 12 acres of prime urban land, originally a reserved forest area, situated in ward number 34 of Hingane Khurd, by razing the illegal structures.pune Updated: Nov 18, 2017 15:25 IST
In a massive crackdown on the land mafia, the forest department officials of Pune Region demolished around 44 illegal structures located over the reserved forest area land in Panchgaon Parvati on Sinhagad road.
The forest department officials, led by deputy conservator of forests (DCF) Rangnath Naikade, cleared off 12 acres of prime urban land, originally a reserved forest area, situated in ward number 34 of Hingane Khurd, by razing the illegal structures.
Over seventy policemen under assistant commissioner of police (ACP) Shivaji Pawar and Sinhagad police station in-charge Vishnu Jagtap provided security to the forest department’s anti-encroachment squad, which came equipped with five excavators to dismantle the permanent and semi-permanent hutments dotting the area.
The anti-encroachment squad faced stiff resistance from the squatters who threatened them with dire consequences. However, the department went ahead with the demolitions in accordance with the directives of the Union ministry of environment and forests.
“ We have been able to retrieve the reserved forest land after demolishing 44 concrete and semi-concrete structures including plinths and tin sheds. The anti-encroachment drive was successfully completed and about 12 acres of prime reserved forest land worth crores of rupees has been cleared of encroachers,” Rangnath Naikade, deputy conservator of forests (DCF) told Hindustan Times.
Naikade said that encroachers had threatened to come back and usurp the forest land again but field staffers are on constant vigil and added that the area will be fenced soon. “ Encroachments on forest land will be removed under the forest conservation laws and we will prevent the same in the future too. Encroachment of government land is a crime, ” he added.
Senior forest officials monitoring the drive said that it was a commendable and historic action taken by the forest department against encroachers. The officials said that it was a criminal act by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MSEDCL) to have given water supply and electricity connections to the illegal encroachers, who were backed by vested political interests.
The forest department said that the encroachers informed that they had to pay Rs 35,000 rent per tenement to influential persons to take possession of their earmarked unauthorised space and also gave bribes of Rs 5,000 for an electricity metre.
A joint secretary rank forest official termed it to be a long-awaited action and branded it as an accomplishment for the forest department.
“It was a sensitive issue and the forest department has handled it with alacrity and due caution. The area too will be converted into a biodiversity zone once the fencing wall is erected around the area,” the official said. The issue had been raised a number of times in the state legislative assembly as well.
First Published: Nov 18, 2017 15:23 IST