Jammu, Dec 31 (PTI) Over 8,000 hectares of Evacuee Property (EP) land is under illegal occupation in this division, prompting the government to direct officers concerned to expedite the process of retrieving the encroached land, an official spokesman said today. Also Read - US Welcomes Steps Taken To Return J&K To Full Economic And Political Normalcy

The information about the EP land under illegal occupants was given at a meeting convened by Revenue Minister Abdul Rehman Veeri here to review the functioning of the EP department, he said. Also Read - Arrival Of 'Sticky Bombs' Sets Off Alarm Bells In Jammu And Kashmir | All You Need To Know

He said the meeting was informed that department has a total of 14,12,006 kanal (71,427.3 hectares) land in its control in the division. Also Read - Train Services Resume In Kashmir Valley After 11 Months of COVID-19 Restrictions

“As many as 1,64,400 kanal (8,316.2 hectares) land is illegally occupied and the department has so far retrieved around 1,399 kanal (70.7 hectares) of land,” he said.

Taking note, the spokesman said, Veeri directed the officers to put in a mechanism of strong monitoring of department land and expedite the process of retrieving the encroached land.

The minister also asked to fence the land wherever required.

Stressing the need for protecting custodian land from illegal occupation and utilising the same for carrying out development activities and creating public utilities for benefit of the people, Veeri said it is the responsibility of the department to ensure check on illegal occupation of land already in the possession of the department and for that they must conduct regular field visits.

He directed them to maintain the asset register having complete details of land and properties of the department for the purpose of close monitoring and to have sense of asset base of the department.

With regard to digitisation of department land records, the spokesman said the process is underway and the work in Kashmir has almost completed while in Jammu it would be completed by February 2018.

He said the minister also asked the officers concerned to undertake mapping of EP assets by using scientific methods with a view to ensure protection, safeguard the property and to prevent any sort of avertable encroachments.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.