Jharkhand: Fed up with the unabated growth of illegal residential colonies, several residents of Bandhgora, barely 2km from Bokaro, met district forest officer Manish Arvind on Tuesday, renewing their age-old plea for administrative action to stop the blatant misuse of forest land.
They claimed that as many as 16 FIRs had been lodged at Sector XII police station to register complaints of land grabbing, including the flattening of the 900-feet high Bandhgora mountain and 48 acres of government property.
However, the police had failed to break the nexus of real estate developers and influential politicians, claimed members of the delegation that included Jagdish Mahto, better known as “tree man” for his passion for ensuring greenery within his neighbourhood, Yogu Purti, Rajendra Rawani, R.D. Gokul and Ram Dayal Soren.
The residents claimed that most of the plots at Adarsh Cooperative, Manmohan Cooperative and Bari Cooperative had been bought by politicians, police officers and other influential people because of which the authorities weren’t able to take appropriate action.
Bandhgora residents’ appeal to Bokaro DFO Arvind was well timed. For, sources claimed he had also, on his own, sent a confidential report to Bokaro deputy commissioner Uma Shankar Singh on Tuesday, detailing the status of 126 acres of land that had been illegally occupied.
Arvind asked the deputy commissioner for three “amins” or surveyors, for measuring land, specifically mentioning that those chosen for the job should not be from Chas block as he suspected their involvement in what seemed to be a well-established racket.
“I feel helpless at times as my department does not have security forces. We have to depend on district police who do not cooperate with us to check illegal constructions,” the forest officer said.
Arvind said he was convinced that land grabbers were working at a frenetic pace. “I know forest land is being usurped by the land mafia in Bandhgora. Once all forest land is measured, hundreds of houses will be found to have been built on forest land,” he added.
On his part, the deputy commissioner promised to rush three amins at Bandhgora panchayat and do whatever was necessary to put an end to the activities of the land mafia.