Free Press Impact: State team investigating encroachment spots

Indore: Following a Free Press story on June 2 exposing encroachments on forest land and complaints raised by legal activist Abhijeet Pandey, a team from Bhopal is now investigating the encroached spots on Mhow – Mandleshwar road.

Earlier, a local investigation committee was formed to investigate the matter following the news. However, the committee did not provide the requisite information and investigate the matter.

When the complaint was raised again at the state-level, a team of investigators was sent from State Forest Department. Now, a team headed by forest ranger Sunil Saxena is investigating the various spots where encroachment has been reported.

The team will conduct investigations and submit the report to PCCF Rajesh Shrivastava next week.

Sharing details about the encroachments, Pandey said, “There are 12 such marked spots of the forest department, where land has already been cleared and prepared for cultivation. The land might have even been cultivated during previous years as well. Now, the farmers are preparing the land for next harvest and using the land for growing crops in monsoon,” Pandey said. He added that each spot is at least 5 to 10 hectare in area.

“There are many areas, where entire hills which are part of forest area have been cut down and used by farmers for cultivation,” Pandey said. He explained that the 12 identified spots are already marked by forest department as their land and yet they have allowed encroachment.

“There are over 100 such spots on Mhow – Mandleshwar road, which come under forest and are encroached, but since they don’t have the forest marking points it is difficult to identify them,” Pandey said.

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