Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding encroachment of 100 hectares of forest land, Radhogarh teshil, Guna district, Madhya Pradesh, 19/01/2024

  • 19/01/2024

Order of the National Green Tribunal (Central Zone Bench, Bhopal) in the matter of Sheikh Nizamuddin Vs State of Madhya Pradesh & Others dated 19/01/2024. Issue raised in the application is violation of Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 and encroachment on the forest land in Radhogarh teshil, district Guna, Madhya Pradesh. It is alleged that some persons have by way of encroaching the land converted it for personal use in violation of environmental rules.

The NGT had taken up the matter on November 7, 2023 and directed a committee to file a factual and action taken report. The joint committee in its report said in the forest range (P678) more than 64 trees have been cut from January 1, 2021 to November 30, 2023. Around 26.487 hectare of land has been encroached upon and are being used for cultivation. Regarding the encroachment of more than 7.457 hectare of forest land, complaint has been registered with the authorities but nothing has been done. There are another encroachment on 19.030 hectares of land by 23 persons.

The joint committee informed the court that there are various encroachments on the forest land and no action has been taken by the district authorities. The forest department has reported the matter to the district administration also.

The Central Bench of the NGT noted that even though repeated notices have been issued to the persons who have encroached the forest land and the Chief Executive Officer, District Panchayat, Raghavgarh has also been informed but no action has been taken by the authorities concerned for removal of the encroachments.

The court also took note of the fact that there are encroachments of 57.402 hectares of land and in another matter vide letter dated October 18, 2023 the Forest Officer, Forest Region Guna has communicated to the Collector Guna for removal of encroachment of more than 49.750 hectares of land.

The joint committee revealed that huge areas have been encroached upon and no actions has been taken by the authorities concerned.

In view of the seriousness of the matter, the NGT directed the constitution of a high level committee to look into the matter personally and to ensure that the encroachment from the forest area should be removed immediately according to rules. The high level committee has been directed to identify the area and demarcate it and remove the encroachment from the forest land and the possession of the area should be handed over to the forest department. In turn, the forest department should "immediately take  measures of protection of land by fixing the pillars and by use of barbed wire and by deep plantation in the area".

The NGT said that the matter is a very serious one and "involves more than 100 hectares of the land of forest which is a subject of encroachment illegally without any authority in violation of forest rules".