'Forest dept to submit status report on Jamma Malai land'

High Court had sought details way back in 2006

'Forest dept to submit status report on Jamma Malai land'

The forest department will submit a report on the status on Jamma Malai land to the Chief Secretary and Principal secretary within a week.

Following a public interest litigation (PIL), the Karnataka High Court had directed the forest department to conduct an investigation into the Jamma Malai land and submit a report way back in 2006.

The officials are collecting information on the Jamma Malai land in the district. The court had directed the forest department to submit the details on the cardamom cultivation, whether the cultivators are cultivating cardamom on Jamma Malai land and the ownership of the land.

It sought the names and particulars of persons in possession of such lands and their claim to the land with documents.

The forest department officials have already visited the Jamma Malaigars and have asked them to provide documents related to the land.

Jamma Malai is a unique land holdings in Kodagu. According to a document dating back to 1811, the rulers had given land to the cultivators to encourage cardamom cultivation, with a condition that the grown cardamom should be sold to the rulers. The documents said that  about 13,736.80 acre land was given to the cultivators as Jamma Malai land to grow cardamom.

Later during the British rule, they started collecting tax for the cardamom grown on Jamma Malai land. The tax was Rs 4.60 per acre. The RFO used to collect the tax from the holders. The Jamma Malai land is owned by the forest department.

There is no RTC in the name of the cultivators. Over the years, the area under Jamma Malai land declined. The area was 8,649.93 acre in 1935; 7,841.64 acre in 1954; 7,000 acre in 1987. Now, the extent of Jamma Malai land in Kodagu is 6,000 acre.

Over the years, the land holders failed to pay tax. As a result, the land was taken back by the forest department.

There are several instances of misuse of Jamma Malai land in the district. At present there are 65 cases related to the misuse. The documents related to Jamma Malai land have been modified in four cases in Virajpet.

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