the forest department in Maharashtra has confiscated properties worth Rs 70 crore on 120 acres of forest land in the Alibagh forest division of Raigad district. Forest department officials seized luxurious bungalows allegedly belonging to leading industrialists of the state. "All these bungalows were constructed in blatant violation of the Indian Forest Act," an official said.
This is the second time in the last three months the forest department has cracked down on illegal and unauthorised constructions on forest land. On September 30, a high level team of forest officials seized 17 farm houses belonging to leading film personalities Salman Khan and Helen and sports personality Dilip Vengsarkar. All these farm houses were developed by the Vrindavan Horticulture Cooperative Society. A senior forest official said that up till now, forest land worth around Rs 1500 crore have been sold to leading builders of Mumbai. "This cannot happen unless the local forest officials are in connivance with the builders," he said. He added that no action had been taken against these builders despite the fact that all records are available with the state government.
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