91% encroached land of the forest, 75% of the irrigation and 54% of other departments was evacuated
KARACHI Dec 30,2021- Senior Member Board of Revenue and Chief Legal Counsel Revenue have submitted a report in the Supreme Court Karachi Registry regarding the occupation of forest and irrigation lands in the Sindh province.
The Supreme Court had sought a report from the Senior Member of the Board of Revenue within a month on the evacuation of lands belonging to the Forest Department and the Irrigation Department.
Senior Member Board of Revenue, Shams Soomro and Chief Legal Council Revenue GN Qureshi in their report submitted to the Supreme Court, said that as on December 20, 2120, 84 cases have been registered against land grabber, occupying Mafia as per court orders.
According to the report presented in the court, by vacating the occupied land 91% of the forest department, 75% of the irrigation department and 54% of other department was evacuated and handed over to the concerned departments.
The report states that The Anti-Encroachment Cell is working under the Deputy Commissioners in every district, while non-emergency leave of anti-encroachment cell employees has also been canceled.
The report states that summary recommendations have been sent to the Sindh Chief Minister to authorize these items so that the encroachments can be abolished.
As the DG Anti-Encroachment Cell Force and other officers deal with land administration, they should work against encroachment and increase the number of FIRs to comply with the court order.
The Sindh Chief Minister has approved this recommendation and put it up for approval in the next Sindh cabinet meeting.
The report submitted to the Supreme Court by the Revenue officials said that the Anti-Encroachment Cell was working with other agencies to eliminate the encroachment on the daily basis, as per the schedule given by the Deputy Commissioners.
Report of 2019
According to a report of 2019, the total forest area in Sindh was 888,206 acres and on the directives of the apex court 218,000 acres had been retrieved from encroachers.
In addition to the retrieved land, 382,000 acres unutilized forest land available in Sindh, the sources said, adding that hence the total land ready for afforestation was approximately 600,000 acres.
The sources apprehended that in the absence of an approved policy on a partnership approach or provision of funding by the government for rehabilitation of forests, it was likely that the vacated areas and unutilized forest land might be re-encroached or re-occupied by the encroachers once again.
It may be noted that the Sindh High Court had on Jan 30, 2019, also barred cultivation of crops on forest lands or its use for agriculture purposes.