Shimla: To review the latest status of encroachment cases in various parts of the State, a High Powered Committee constituted by the government to assess and review the encroachment cases in the State met today under the chairmanship of Health, Revenue and Law Minister Kaul Singh Thakur.

The Committee directed the Additional Chief Secretary-cum- Financial Commissioner Revenue to explore legal options in the ambit of law and put up suggestions before the committee whether the small and marginal farmers and farmers belonging to backward areas having less than 10 bighas of land could be provided some relief.

A decision was taken to examine and explore the possibility as to whether any Act can be brought to regularize the encroachments made on Government land by small and marginal farmers. It was also decided to explore legal remedies to file a review petition in HP High Court, to provide relief to the small and marginal farmers who have encroached upon the government land in dire necessity on humanitarian grounds.

The Committee also decided to explore the possibility of making request to the Hon’ble High court to hear various CWPILs pending adjudication pertaining to removal of encroachment on government land by clubbing them together and placed before a special bench so that there may be uniformity in directions qua manner of removal of encroachments.

The Revenue Minister made clear to take strict action against the big encroachers. He however vowed to protect the marginal farmers. He said

“Himachal being a welfare State, it should be the responsibility of the State to protect the rights particularly connected to the livelihood of the people and in view of magnitude of the livelihood and the human approach, the State Government was making all out efforts to provide relief to the small and marginal farmers of the State”

The High Powered Committee also sought suggestions on the issue as to whether Himachal Pradesh Regularization of Encroachments (in certain cases) on Government Land and Disposal of Government Land Rules, 2002 can be amended to provide relief to marginal and small farmers.

The next meeting of the Committee has been fixed on 28th of this month in Shimla at 11 AM.

Ayurveda Minister Karan Singh, Deputy Speaker HP Vidhan Sabha Sri Jagat Singh Negi, Chief Parliamentary Secretaries Rohit Thakur, and Nand Lal, MLA Mohan Lal Brakta, Secretary Law Dr. Baldev Singh Thakur, Senior Officers of Revenue and Forest Departments were also present among others.