The Department of Forest and Environment, Government of Sikkim, convened a press conference today to address the ongoing issue about alleged land encroachment by a pharmaceutical company in Melli, South Sikkim. The press conference was addressed by Additional Chief Secretary cum PCCF, Forest, M.L. Shrivastava, along with Additional PCCF Shri Pradeep Kumar, Special Secretary, Land Revenue Department Shri Dushyant Pariyar, CCF Wangdi Tamang, CF (Territorial) Karma Legshey, and DFO (T) South, Peggyla Tshering.
M.L. Shrivastava maintained that Forest is sacrosanct and it is the mandate of the Forest Department to protect it. He said that the Department is in the process of verifying and corroborating the facts to come to a logical conclusion. He added that substantial progress has been made on the ground, with the joint effort of the DFO Territorial (South) and her team and the Land Revenue Department team led by the District Collector (Namchi). He said that the consolidation of records to ascertain the facts is a time taking process and is under due enquiry.
Shrivastava further explained the sequence of events after the RTI was filed seeking information with regard to the total land under the occupation of IPCA Laboratories. He elaborated on the immediate action taken by the Range Officer (Melli), and thereafter by the DFO Territorial.
Special Secretary, Land Revenue Department, Shri Dushyant Pariyar said that the Department is in the process of scrutinizing the land records in close coordination with the Forest Department.
Likewise, DFO (Territorial), South, Peggyla Tshering informed about the construction of a boundary wall along the banks of the Rangit River by IPCA Laboratories, and construction activities in the areas partly falling under Government Khasmal land. She reiterated that the matter has been referred to the office of the DC Namchi for verification of land records. She stressed that any encroachment in the land under the Forest Department falls under the prerogative of the department to carry out necessary investigation, which is being efficiently taken up by the concerned officials.
In conclusion, the ACS cum PCCF said that the Department is taking all the necessary steps within the ambit of the Forest Act to ascertain the facts without any bias. He further said that in case of any anomaly or illegal encroachment, action will be taken as per the provision of the law.