Ministers' kin get land, but farmers get evicted

Govt preparing action against 34,270 cultivators in Shimoga

A task force headed by retired IAS officer V Balasubramanya, set up in 2009 with a mandate to protect government land, is now preparing to evict farmers in Malnad cultivating government lands.

 Encroachment of government land by farmers is a common phenomenon in Malnad which witnessed enormous pressure on land.

For generations, farmers have cultivated land, built houses, created threshing grounds, raised community-owned grazing land, groves and Devara Banas (protected community forests). But now, the administration, goaded by the task force, is out to evict them in a hurry.

By an order RD 556LJB2009, the Government has formed an authority at the taluk and district level to survey land, evict encroachment and protect such land from further encroachment.

Further, the government has directed the district administration to prosecute farmers who had encroached on government land and officers who had aided such encroachment, under CrPC Section 192 (A).

Balasubramanya wrote to the Deputy Commissioner on June 30, 2010, instructing him to register at least 10 cases of encroachment in each taluk and report the progress.

Acting with alacrity, the district administration identified 10,61,864 acres and 7 guntas of government-owned land in the district till the end of September. It also identified 71,121 acres and 33 guntas being encroached upon by 34,270 farmers.

Following up on the task force mandate, the district administration has filed criminal cases against 44 farmers and repossessed 53 acres and 32 guntas. Further, the district officials are now preparing to initiate similar action against 34,270 farmers.

Revenue cess

Tahsildars of taluks have issued notices to farmers asking them to hand over the encroached land to the government within 15 days of receiving the notice. If the farmers failed to do so, they would be evicted and forced to bear the cost of the operation as revenue cess.

The action comes in stark contrast to the inaction in the case of a number of politicians taking over government lands for commercial purposes in collusion with officers. Although a slew of such cases has been reported, no action has been taken either against the encroachers or the officers who colluded with them.

Not being sons of ministers, the sons of the soil cannot even dream of getting a government order denotifying their land.

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