Forest dept evicts encroached land

Nearly 9000 robusta coffee plants, 1500 silver and 1000 chilly creepers were cleared in Mudigere

The forest department staff on Thursday, evicted 15 acres of the coffee plantation grown by a villagers by encroaching the forest land in Heggudlu village Mudigere taluk.

The coffee plantation belonging to B S Narayana Gowda which has been yielding from last 10 years, was evicted after the forest department confirmed that the land where plantation has come up belongs to Saragodu Reserve Forest in Aldur zone. Over 116 families had encroached over 1460 acres of land in Saragodu Reserve Forest area in 2004 and had cultivated coffee plantations. But, as per the High Court order in the same year, 1,450 acres of land encroached by 115 families were evicted.

B S Narayana Gowda who too cultivated the land had brought stay from the court. With the court in its order issued in September, 2011, ordering the forest department to evict all the encroached land, the department had issued notices to the encroachers asking to vacate the land. As the encroachers did not vacate the land, the department issued a final notice asking to vacate before May 20 and going by the order, the department has started the eviction drive, a senior forest officer who was present at the venue told Deccan Herald.

Chikmagalur District Conservator of Forest Raviraj Narayan, Tahsildar A V Rudrappaji Rao, Mudigere Assistant Conservator of Forest Ramesh Babu and others were present.
Over 200 forest department personnel carried out the eviction drive with the help of outsourced labourers and two JCBs. Nearly 9000 robusta coffee plants, 1500 silver and 1000 chilly creepers were evicted. The evicted land was reaping an annual income of Rs 7 lakh income.

Planter flays

Flaying the forest department for destroying thousands of coffee plants in a day, without giving required time to vacate the land, coffee grower B S Narayana Gowda claimed that the department has met injustice to him.

Addressing media persons on Thursday, he said that the forest department has erred by adding his land in 500 acres of forest land in forest survey no. 169/1. The land that was evicted on Thursday belongs to survey no. 69/2 which is a part of the revenue land.

“This land belongs to my father and it was cultivated from generations. I did not face any problem till 1997 and all the problems started with the forest department issuing a notice in 1997 saying that the land belongs to Saragodu reserve forest. When I questioned it in the High Court, the HC ordered the forest and the revenue department to conduct a joint survey,” he said.

The forest department which did not conduct a joint survey, approached the HC again in 2010, following which the Court ordered the Tahsildar to issue title deeds to the growers. But the court order has been violated by not issuing title deeds, he said.

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