Bhubaneswar, Nov 18 (LocalWire): Despite the Apex court’s directive banning diversion or misuse of ‘gochar’ or grazing land, over 12,000 acres of these classified lands for community use continues to be encroached upon either by individuals or industries in 19 districts of the state, as per the revenue and disaster management department’s admission.
These 19 districts (Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Kandhamal, Keonjhar, Bhadrak, subarnapur, Sambalpur, Nayagarh, Bargarh, Angul, Nuapada, Balasore, Dhenkanal, Nabarangpur,Deogarh, Jharsuguda,Jajpur, Kalahandi and Koraput) have 6,97, 054 acres of grazing land combined together.
Bargarh district (3524 acre) accounts for highest stretch of encroached grazing land followed by Kendrapara district where 1719 acre land squatted by land grabbers.
The government failed to furnish the grazing land encroachment updates in rest of the 11 districts.
Cases have been registered against the encroachers under Orissa Prevention of Land Encroachment Act, 1972 provisions.
Steps are being taken expeditiously to reclaim the encroached land for community use, the minister of revenue and disaster management, Sudam Marandi, told the Assembly.
The Supreme Court in a ruling had earlier ordered for 5% of total land of a village to be kept aside for cattle pasture. The diversion of gochar land is not permissible.
As per the revenue department’s guidelines, at least five per cent of the village will be earmarked as gochar.
Similarly, 10 per cent area in every village is to be kept aside and classified as communal land which can be used by any community for burying or cremating dead bodies and celebrating public festivals without interference from anyone or paying any fees for the purpose.