Row over Inam land a nightmare for Balige villagers

Last Updated 28 March 2014, 17:12 IST

The dharna staged by the villagers of Balige over Inam land row in Kalasa hobli, has entered the eighth day. The villagers have been staging protest against the move of the forest department to acquire Inam land that were cultivated by the owners for generations. 

The controversial Inam land has become a nightmare for the residents of Balige. Though the government has stopped the drive to clear the land, people fear that it might re start after the election. 

“The move of the forest department has set a serious drawback to the farmers of Balige, who had relied upon the organic farming. The villagers said that the protests will be  continued till we get justice,” the villagers said. 

Senior agriculturist Doddamane Anantharajaiah lamented that the move of the government towards the eviction of agriculturists has come as a shock to the villagers.

The forest department has ordered to vacate all of a sudden. “We have been cultivating the land  for the last 100 years.  There are only two survey numbers in Balige - 978 and 1000 and all these lands are Gomala land. In the past  we were paying tax to the Kalaseshwara temple. We have toiled hard to cultivate. When we are ready to reap the harvest, the government has started eviction drive.” 

A polling booth has been set up for the first time in Balige village. All the 300 voters from 70 families have decided to boycott the elections

 Puttayya, a farmer in Balige has accused the surveyors of committing the mistake. “In the survey, the surveyors had mentioned that we own 10 to 12 acre land.”

Dharanendra, a youth from the village accused the officials of committing the mistake.  “Even after knowing that the land belongs to the forest department, why the revenue department had to issue RTCs to us under Form number 53? ,” he asked.

It is a tragedy that the land which was in the category of Gomala till 2001, has turned into a forest land all of a sudden, said Hosabail Prakash, a villager.Kalasa Hobli receives an annual rainfall of 250 to 300 inches. Farmers have not seen economic progress. 

 The annual income of an agriculturist here is 15000 to 20000 per annum. It is the people who have preserved the forest in the real sense by growing trees around their houses, said Makkimane Pravin who has been supporting the dharna.

Only two to three farmers belonging to Scheduled tribes have obtained the title deeds under Forest Rights Act. But, the people who have been living here from generations have not been provided with title deeds. 

Forest department has issues notices to us only for planting banana saplings in a half acre land, said Thimma Puttaiah. In fact the forest department had destroyed forest in Balige. The Acacia trees grown by the department has not done anything good for us, said youth leader Savinjaya.  

“We have no school education. We have no jobs either. We have been evicted for the mistake we never committed, said Shashikanth. 

(Published 28 March 2014, 17:12 IST)

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