(TibetanReview.net, Sep17’21) – Eviction and demolition orders had already been passed against 202 cases of Tibetan homes at McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, for forest encroachments, reported the tribuneindia.com Sep 17, citing Sanjeev Sharma, DFO (District/Divisional Forest Officer), Dharamsala. However, the matter of demolition of properties has been put on hold due to the intervention of the Union Ministry of External Affairs, Sharma has added.
The report said the union ministry had halted action against Tibetans on the plea that if the demolitions are carried out a large number of Tibetans would become homeless.
However, the DFO has said that in case the Tibetans make additions on their existing structures, cases would be registered against them. He has added that a case was recently registered against some Tibetans for raising additional structures on forest land on the TIPA road.
Asked about complaints of encroachments on forest land by local Indians, the DFO has said action would be taken as and when any matter is being brought to his notice. If the felling of trees takes place on private lands, the DFO has said, that action has to be taken by the Municipal Corporation.
The Tibetan homes in Dharamsala alleged to have encroached on forest land had been in existence without any complaint since the early 1960s when the Tibetans first arrived in the hill town. Concentrated along the TIPA road, they constitute the bulk of Tibetan homes in the hill town.
The report said encroachment by local Indians on forest land were increasing in McLeod Ganj as well as other areas of Upper Dharamsala, such as Dharamkot and Bhagsunag.