Govt will reclaim encroached forest land, says CS

Govt will reclaim encroached forest land, says CS

The government has set its eyes to recover the land belonging to the revenue and forest departments that the land sharks have encroached.

Auditing the extent of encroachment, Chief Secretary T S Vijaya Bhaskar headed committee has identified that out of 12,000 acres of forest land about 2,000 acres in and around Bengaluru held by private organisations and other individuals are said to be ‘problematic’.

The committee has decided to take the legal route to avoid any possible political pressure to transfer officials involved in the land audit and expedite the process. It is also putting together evidence and other records to support its legal stand and prove the ownership of the land.

A senior member of the committee, requesting anonymity said: “We have had two meetings, and given to our understanding about 2,000 acres in and around Bengaluru are said to be the problematic chunk of land with a lot of legal and other issues involved. We are focusing on getting the land back around Turahalli, Yeshwantpur, Kanakapura Road, Anekal and North Bengaluru.” According to sources in government, till date, about 300 hectares of encroached forest land has been recovered.

Speaking to DH, Chief Secretary T M Vijaya Bhaskar said: “I have directed the officials to conduct surveys and ascertain the details of survey numbers. In some areas, there have been ambiguous records and in a few areas land has been handed over to other establishments like defence and public sector enterprises through the official channel.”

“Besides, in some cases, deputy commissioners and officers of even the lower ranks of DCs have diverted forest land without any legitimate powers. Such areas are being reassessed now,” Bhaskar

Another member of the committee said: “As on date out of 35 forest blocks, the committee has completed the survey in as many as 17 blocks. The results showed that about 7,000 acres of land are intact. We have listed out denotified and de-reserved areas comprising 2,000 acres of land handed over to other government establishments.

Sub-committees have also been formed to expedite the recovery of encroached land.