40,000 acres of forest land occupied in Larkana

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As many as 40,000 acres of forest department land has been encroached upon in entire Larkana division, where vegetables, wheat, sugarcane, and other crops are sown by the occupants openly.

Forest department officers were not even prepared to visit these lands due to fear and guards were reluctant to lodge FIRs against the land grabbers.

According to the gathered information, there are three divisions of forest department in Larkana, including Larkana, Shikarpur and Kashmore.

The limits of Larkana district are from Sharifpur forest near Radhan to Amrot Sharif, wherein 51,000 acres of land is owned by the forest department, out of which influential people have encroached upon 10,000 acres of land.

These forest lands are located in Dokri, Bakrani, Larkana and Ratodero tehsils (taluka) where palaces have also been constructed. The forest department is the owner of 20,100 acres of land in Kashmore division, out of which 9,000 acres have been occupied by the habitual land grabbers. Jhanghan Park of Kashmore district is also under occupation and lands of Gabloo Park and Gadani Park have been silted. On top of that, deforestation is going on in many areas on a massive scale, for which no action has so far been taken against anyone, which will bring very serious repercussions.

Under Forest Act 1927 (27), FIR can be lodged against these land grabbers and the accused can be challaned in the court of a civil judge, but even this law is not being used.

In this connection, Larkana Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Muhammad Ali Unar told reporters here on Saturday that they have been taking action from time to time, adding, even today, a case is pending decision before Sindh High Court Circuit Court, Larkana, against encroachment on Madeji and Bahman plots.

DFO Kashmore Sanaullah Baloch said that 41 cases have been registered against illegal occupants of about 9000 acres of government land, adding due to non-approach of police, the influential persons and criminals have forcibly taken over government lands.

He said with the cooperation of PPL, plotting has been made over 450 acres of the land, but due to the high percentage of silt in the land, a nursery has not yet been established in Gabloo Park.

Baloch said that Jhanghan Park is located in the riverine area, adding influential people made jetties on both sides of Indus River in the past, where bungalows and white houses have been constructed. In some areas, he added, game areas have been established, where partridges, deer, pigs and other birds and animals are hunted.

A major portion of these areas has been occupied by hardened bandits who operate from these remote places in cities and go back to their hideouts in jungles, due to which the forest department officials cannot discharge their duties properly as there is no writ of the government.