Affidavit sought on forest land lease

Affidavit sought on forest land lease

Hearing a Public Interest Litigation by D V Girish and others, challenging the lease of 34 acres of Shola forest adjoining Bhadra wildlife sanctuary to Brigade Hospitalities, the division bench comprising Chief Justice P D Dinakaran and Justice V G Sabhahit expressed its dissatisfaction over the revenue department’s action to lease the land.

The Principal Secretary, Environment and Forests in an affidavit had stated that the land belongs to the Forest Department and is a typical Shola forests (high-altitude stunted evergreen forest), while the Revenue Department termed it as a gomala (grazing) land.

Counsel for the petitioner, Anu Chengappa in her submission said that the  respondents  have already cut down 250 trees from this patch of forest, which is an eco-sensitive zone.
The Bench sought to know how the patch of deemed forest has been leased out and directed the Chief Secretary to file an affidavit.

It could be recalled that following the 30 year lease of this land to construct the resort in 2003, the petitioners have moved the High Court seeking to quash the lease deed.  

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