Jamshedpur : BJP activist Ganesh Mahali forced the forest department to stop an anti-encroachment drive midway near the J M T Auto Limited at Adityapur along the Tata-Kandra Road.
The action was being taken after a section of local residents had encroached on forest land by setting up about 100 houses on it six months. Concerned over the situation the forest department launched the drive.
Encroachment on government and common land and its misuse for monetary gains is fast emerging as an organised crime in the city with certain dominant persons allegedly involved in it. Despite claims by the authorities, larger parts in the city are still under control of several unscrupulous persons.
Divisional forest officer (DFO), Seraikela, V Bhaskaran when reached the spot 300 people, including women started pelting stones and had even tried to attack the forest department officials with traditional weapons .
The forest department had pressed an excavator and forest guards for removing the encroachment from the forest land. According to information a section of people had encroached upon about 40 acres of forest land near the JMT Area in Adityapur along the Tata-Kandra Road six months ago.
The DFO, when queried, said that a local BJP activist, Ganesh Mahali had turned up in the middle of the drive and asked him to stop the drive as those settled on the forest land are landless poor people.
Sources also informed that that there have been cases in which people have encroached ponds and have built their houses illegally.ďEncroachment of public land in the city has become an urban eyesore. It has brought traffic movement to a crawl. Steps would be taken to vacate the illegal constructions,Ē said an official.
When questioned over how the land is encroached, an official commented, ĎĎonce a land is encroached on by number of poor persons, the encroachersí mafia moves in on the social justice platform and backed by local politicians and goons, gets the illegal settlement regularised. This, in turn, encourages further encroachment.íí
The DFO stated he stopped the drive having recovered three-fourth of the encroached forest land, and claimed he will shortly resume the drive so as to get the area free from any encroachments.
Mahali, who is general secretary of BJP’s Seraikela-Kharsawan unit said that he stopped the forest department from carrying out the encroachment drive as those residing there are landless people.
“The move can never be justified. I will not allow the forest department to remove the people who are residing on the forest land at that particular area . If the forest department turns up again for the drive, then it will have to first vacate as many as five other slums set on the forest land,” said Mahali.