The first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu made the observation while passing orders relating to encroachments in the bio-diverse atmosphere of The Nigiris which is ecologically vulnerable.
“As per official reports of June 30, 2021, the encroachment in forest land on a pan State level was to the extent of 16250.55 hectare, including in The Nigiris District. The report further reveals that eviction drives have been commenced to remove encroachment from the forest or reserved land, but encroachers have instituted legal proceedings in some cases,” the bench recorded.
Based on the same, the bench also held, “The State should continue to make its best endeavour to recover as much forest and reserved land as possible and it is completely unacceptable that even after the series of orders by the Supreme Court, there is more than 16250.55 hectare of forest land which has been encroached upon.”
The bench also reminded the State about its earlier order directing it to monitor all forest lands to ensure that every bit of encroachment was removed from whatever little forest was left in this State and preserved, if only for the benefit of the human progeny. However, the court in its order also recorded the submission of the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, that all District Forest Officers, Wildlife Wardens and Deputy Directors have been instructed by a letter dated July 30, 2021 that the encroachments should be removed as expeditiously as possible by giving 15 days’ notice under Section 68A of the Act of 1882.
It was also recorded that an action plan has been prepared and the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests indicates that much of the forest land which has been encroached upon would be recovered as expeditiously as possible.