Clean drive

to check timber smuggling in Jammu and Kashmir, the state government has launched a drive to retrieve forest area in the state. M Ramzan, the state environment and forest minister, has said that around 8,000 hectares of forest land has been reclaimed from encroaches.

As many as 400 cases have been registered with the police. The offenders have been booked under the Public Safety Act, he said. More than 500 companies operating within an eight kilometre radius of the forests have been close operations and a ban has been enforced on the movement of timber within the state. Around 400 personnel had been selected for a force to counter timber smugglers, he said.