The Himachal Pradesh government will submit an interim policy to the state High Court to provide relief to small and marginal farmers and the poor who have encroached upon government land, Revenue Minister Kaul Singh said on Saturday.The matter would also be examined against the provisions of the Forest Rights Act so that bonafide forest dwellers could be identified and their rights determined, the minister said, while presiding over the third meeting of the high powered committee on encroachments on government land constituted by the state under his chairmanship.He said the government was not in favour of encroachments. However, it intended to give relief to those small and marginal farmers and poor people who constructed houses on government land or occupied it due to some compulsion.
The state assembly had passed a resolution to consider regularisation of their encroachments on humanitarian grounds. But as the High Court had passed orders to evacuate the illegal possessions on government land, the government would soon submit a policy before the court, an official statement quoting the minister said.Kaul Singh directed that the draft policy and appropriate scheme should be submitted for consideration of the committee in the next meeting slated for February 7.He said the government was committed to uphold the law and deal with big and influential encroachers strictly.The High Court had ordered removal of illegal encroachments by fruit growers on government land and to axe the trees and disconnect their water and electricity connections.(IANS)