Jammu: Division Bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Sindhu Sharma has directed the Forest Department, Revenue Department and Patnitop Development Authority to retrieve the land which is in the “illegal possession of hoteliers at this tourist resort” by removing all the encroachments in accordance with the relevant law, Daily Excelsior reported.

As per the report the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is likely to produce challan in FIR No.RC0042020A0003 dated August 1, 2019 within next two-three months as ongoing investigation is at advance stage.

When the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) titled Harcharan Singh and Others Versus State of Jammu and Kashmir and Others came up for hearing through the virtual mode, Advocate Monika Kohli appearing for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) submitted that the agency has made substantial progress in the investigation and more than 40 witnesses have been examined till date.

However, the Division Bench directed the CBI to file fresh report by or before next date of hearing.

The Daily Excelsior reported that the CBI, which was entrusted the task of conducting investigation into illegal constructions and encroachments at Patnitop vide High Court order dated December 31, 2019, is examining the aspect of encroachments on forest and other public land; illegal change of use and misuse of the land in violation of the permitted use; raising of illegal constructions and failure of the authorities to take action.

As per the report already submitted by the Chief Executive Officer of the Patnitop Development Authority, violations of constructions as well as encroachments by the hoteliers are between 2,442 square feet to 26,154 square feet and names of all the encroachers and violators have also been furnished to the High Court.

It has been submitted before the Division Bench of the High Court that lot of trees have been removed in order to effect the encroachments and raise illegal and unauthorized constructions, which have resulted into degradation of the environment in the area under the jurisdiction of Patnitop Development Authority.


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