'36K acres of forest land in C'magalur encroached upon'

The dist accounts for 23 pc of total encroachments in State

'36K acres of forest land in C'magalur encroached upon'

A whopping 35,946 acres of forest land in Chikmagalur district, especially in the Sringeri range forest, has been encroached upon, according to documents submitted by the Samaj Parivarthan Samudaya (SPS) to the High Court, along with an affidavit.

The SPS and other petitioners also submitted to the High Court a list of “encroachers” a few weeks ago. The encroached forest land in Chikmagalur district is almost 23 per cent of the total encroached forest land (1.6 lakh acres) in the State. The Sringeri range, which has forests up to Bidarugodu and Kigga, has been the most encroached upon.

In the affidavit, the petitioners stated that 4,191 acres of forest land in Sringeri had been encroached upon. “This much land, all pristine forests of Western Ghats, has been encroached upon by 201 individuals,” said Deepak C N, one of the petitioners.

The Koppa range near Sringeri comes second with 2,305 acres of its forest land being encroached upon by 107 individuals.

The Kalasa range has 1,624 acres of land encroached upon by 93 individuals, Muthodi 1,646 acres encroached upon by 52 people and Aldur 1,302 acres encroached upon by 53 individuals. The affidavit further states that 87 people have encroached upon over 30 acres, and 550 individuals between 10 and 30 acres. Some individuals have encroached upon over 100 acres and a family 397.32 acres.

“These two categories of individuals put together have encroached upon 13,600 acres of forest land. This list has been given to the State government following the directions of the court,” said Dhananjaya, the counsel for the petitioners. “The government told the court that it would clear the encroachments within three months, but no effort has been made in this regard so far.”

Three meetings

Following the court directions, the government conducted three meetings with the petitioners.

“It is supposed to submit a report to the court, but no action has been taken so far,” he said.

The petitioners, who are demanding that the government clear the encroachments, have compiled two reports — one by V Balasubramanian, who headed the task force on recovery of public and forest land across the State, and another by A T Ramaswamy who chaired the Joint Legislature Committee on encroachment of government land in Bangalore and the adjoining areas.

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