DERA GHAZI KHAN: The failure of local revenue department in demarcation of grazing lands meant for feeding livestock, has made it difficult for forest department to retrieve the state land under illegal occupation, sources told Dawn.

On the direction of Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, local revenue department has initiated the process of consolidation and demarcation of state land in tribal area, as well as in western arid zone of the district to identify the grazing lands.

According to the sources, out of 60,000 acres of grazing land in the district, at least 45,000 acres had been occupied illegally.

Range Management District Officer Dr Mudhtaq said despite several official reminders, the revenue department did not demarcate the grazing land own by the forest department. He said without proper identification of the grabbed grazing land, department could not move for retrieving it.

Similarly, the sources said that at least 5,000 acres out of the total 12,000 acres of forest land had been illegaly occupied in the district.

However, District Forest Officer Mr Mahar claimed that most of the forest land had been retrieved from grabbers, and that only 30 to 40 acres were yet to be retrieved.

Deputy Commissioner Samiullah Farooq said he had recently assumed charge and after looking into the matter would ask revenue staff concerned to speed up the pace of land demarcation work to identify the grazing lands owned by forest department.

Published in Dawn, August 5th, 2019