Forest panels to look into cases of land encroachment

'Shrinking of agri land will create severe food shortage'

The State government is understood to have promised legislators hailing from the Malnad region that it will protect the interests of farmers to whom the Forest department had recently issued notices, regarding encroachment of its lands.

At a meeting attended by the legislators, Forest Minister Ramanath Rai, Revenue Minister V Srinivas Prasad and Social Welfare Minister Anjaneya, it was decided to set up grama aranya samitis (forest committees) in all villages in the region. The aggrieved farmers will submit applications to these panels, seeking their intervention in the matter. The Forest department will be directed not to initiate any proceedings to recover the lands till the samitis dispose of the applications.

The Forest department has started issuing notices to those who had allegedly encroached upon its lands, following directions from the High Court of Karnataka and the Supreme Court in this regard.

The encroachment is rampant in districts coming under the Malnad region.

The Task Force for recovery and protection of government land, in its report, estimated that about 1.6 lakh acres of forest lands are encroached upon across the State.

The meeting decided that the Forest and the Revenue departments will jointly take up survey of the disputed lands and clearly identify the revenue and forest lands.

This move, legislators said, will help solve the problem to a considerable extent. Aside from this, the ministers are learnt to have assured the legislators that they will try to find a legal solution to the problem after consulting experts.

‘Farmland feeding realty’

Former minister and BJP MLA Govind Karjol has alleged that thousands of acres of farm land have been taken over by the Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board and the same have been diverted for the real estate business.

Participating in a discussion in the Assembly on Tuesday, Karjol, who was minister in the BJP government, said the government must take measures to stop this sort of acquisition of agriculture land.

He said the shrinking of agriculture land was bound to cause severe food shortage. The government must understand this reality and give emphasis to agriculture rather than industries, he added.

False caste certificates

Karjol said nearly two lakh false caste certificates had been issued. The beneficiaries include doctors, engineers, advocates and legislators.

Tahsildars responsible for these illegalities must be arrested. Otherwise, reservation based on caste loses its meaning, he said.

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