Srinagar, May 22: Forest Department on Saturday launched a major anti-encroachment drive in Pahalgam, which according to authorities concerned saw retrieval of at least twenty-three kanals of forest land in alleged illegal possession of five hoteliers for last five decades in the famous tourist destination.
Range officer Pahalgam Haji Altaf Ahmad Ganaie said that the drive was carried under the direct supervision of DFO Lidder Shiekh Mehraj Ahmad.
“During the daylong drive, the team retrieved twenty-three kanals of forest land from five hoteliers in compartment number 34/L and 35/L”, the official said adding that “It is believed that the land was under illegal possession of the hoteliers for nearly five decades now.”
“We had pressed drones into service, for the first time, to oversee and ensure a smooth drive”, the official said adding that the forest department followed all the necessary COVID-19 SOPs during the daylong drive.
“Simultaneously the department in a joint operation with Wildlife Protection Department retrieved more than fifty kanals of forest land Aru Pahalgam”, the official added. gns