Forest Dept officials seek protection

KSFDCL officials beaten up by encroachers in Hoskote taluk

The scenario cannot get worse. Despite the Court’s injunction order favouring  the Karnataka State Forest Development Corporation Limited (KSFDCL) to take possession of the land, officials are being shooed away by the locals. The State Forest Department had leased out over 62 acres of land to KSFDCL, to grow timber and non timber products at Teniyur village, Sulebele hobli (Hoskote taluk) and for a decade it had nurtured the land.
 The Department has now been forced seek the help of the police, as several illegal elements have been threatening them with dire consequences. The junior officers are scared to go to the area.

Interestingly, when the matter was raised recently in the State Assembly for a discussion, Hoskote MLA Bachegowda misled the opposition saying the matter is sub judice.

 This land was encroached upon by some of the residents of Bhopsandra village and Teniyur village. When KSFDCL challenged it in the local Court at Hoskote, an injunction was ordered in its favour.

“An injunction was ordered by the local court, after we contended that the forest land cannot be granted. Even if there is grant, it is not valid, nor can it be challenged,” said G S Kannur, counsel for KSFDCL.

“The injunction was issued on 12 December, 2008. It was confirmed on April 6, 2009, but the matter is now pending before the Bangalore Rural and Civil judge, senior division, after the 25 petitioners filed a miscellaneous appeal, but there is no interim order in this connection,” he said. 

But the trouble began when the KSFDCL employees went ahead to take possession of the land. “We are frequently threatened by the goons over there, they come in a group of 30- 40 during night, cut trees and beat up our employees. We are  helpless. Even newly posted employees refuse to go there after few days following threats by the encroachers,” said a source in the department.

The KSFDCL moved the Court again seeking directions to the police to provide them protection against the land grabbers. The Court has directed the police now to protect the officials to help the Corporation to discharge their duties.

Interestingly, the State Government was silent over the matter. The matter was raised in the Assembly on July 20, 24, 2009, but the Government initially seemed to be reluctant to discuss about it. Later bucking under the pressure of Opposition, it took up the matter for discussion.

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