Encroachment, an unending woe in C'magalur district

Encroachment, an unending woe in C'magalur district

1,06.249 acre revenue, 35,946 acre forest land encroached: Report

Encroachment, an unending woe in C'magalur district

Encroachment of forest and the government land is a burning issue in Chikmgalur district for the last four decades. Be it rich, poor, entrepreneurs, politicians, officials or religious places, many have been the victim of encroachment.

The encroachment which commenced during 1970s continues to haunt the residents. The political parties have been trying to encash the issue for vote bank politics.

Poor had encroached the land for their livelihood. Whenever there is a change in the government or a change in the Deputy Commissioner, a sword of Damocles hangs over the head of the encroachers. Now, once again the the issue of encroachment has been raised in the district.

When the Forest department initiated the move to clear the encroached land, the encroachers began spending sleepless nights. With Chief Minister Siddaramaiah ordering for joint survey by the forest and the revenue department, the encroachers are worried over holding of their land. Environmentalist and social activists said “there is a need to reclaim the encroached land. The government should not reclaim the land from poor.”

Demanding the implementation of V Balasubramanyan committee report, S R Hiremutt from Samaja Parivarthana Samudaya will file a PIL in the High Court.

As per the report submitted by the Task Force on Encroachment of Forest and the government land, 1,06,249 acres of revenue land and 35,946 acres of forest land has been encroached in the district. In Chikmagalur division alone, 3,778 hectares of forest land has been encroached, of which, only 264 hectare land has been cleared. As many as 1,417 cases pertaining to encroachment are pending.

Area of forest

The total extent of area under forest in Chikmagalur district is only 23 per cent. Amidst encroachment, smuggling of wooden logs, sand mining and quarry, conserving forest is a challenging task. “With the decline in forest land, the rift between the wild animals and human beings continues.” About 40,000 acre land in Tarikere taluk coming under Bhadra wildlife division has been encroached.

As many as 15,508 persons have encroached forest land in the district, according to the available report. The details are as follows: 1,791 persons have encroached 9,446 acres in Chikmagalur taluk, 7,168 families encroached 24,017 acres in Koppa taluk, 1,804 persons encroached 4,722 acres in Tarikere, 542 persons encroached 1,325 acres in Lakkavalli forest area, 122 persons encroached 175 acres in Kuduremukh, 81 persons encroached 270 acres in Bhadra wildlife division.

Wildlife activist G Veeresh and Prajaprabhuthva Ulisi Andolana Vedike member Nagesh Angirasa said “the  government should reclaim the encroached reserve forest land. It is essential to take measures to conserve reserve forest. The government should take a tough stand to conserve forest.”

District Congress Committee President M L Murthy said, “we will support the poor who had encroached land for livelihood. However, we will oppose all those rich who had encroached land for their greedy nature.”

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