'Forest department officials furnished wrong information on encroachment'

Samaja Parivarthana Samudaya founder president S R Hiremath has said that the forest department officials have furnished false information on encroachment by the farmers, to the government. The farmers who have been suffering following wrong information should fight unitedly for their rights.

Speaking at an interaction held as a part of workshop on environment and bio diversity, organised by Addagadde village forest committee, at Sringeri on Sunday,he said that small and marginal farmers should not suffer following encroachment. There is a need to bring out truth in the information furnished by the officials. Farmers should impress upon the government to conduct a joint survey by the forest and revenue departments, he added.

Earlier inaugurating the seminar, he said that there was a need for harmony among community, nature and culture.

“There is a cordial relation between the land and the tiller of the land. There is a need to bring in happiness in the lives of farmers. A person who works hard should become the owner of the land. Small farmers should be empowered,” he said.

Hiremath said that there is a need to oppose acts that are harmful to the society. “In a democracy, elected representatives and officials are public servants. The public are the owners. There is a need to punish those who amass wealth disproportionate to the known source of income.”

Kalkuli Vittal Hegde said that 56,625 acre land in the taluk is covered by Kudremukh National Park. About 27,879 acre land is Gomala and hillocks. About 25,000 acre land has been used for farming, housing and other essential services. The clearing of encroachment has created fear in the minds of the people.

Environment expert Dr Subhash Chandra said that Madhav Gadgil report on conservation of Western Ghats had supported the traditional dwellers. In his report, Gadgil had said that Western Ghats is known for bio diversity. However, in the name of development, the use of forest has increased and a few flora and fauna are on the verge of extinct. The report had said that traditional dwellers are the conservators of forest and they should not be evicted. The traditional dwellers should be entrusted with the responsibility to conserve forest. The gram panchayats should also be included in the process of conservation of forest.

Village Forest Committee President Hebbige Ramachandra presided. Farmer Rathnakar Gowda inaugurated.

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