Forest department launches drive to clear encroachments

Farmers oppose; MLA promises to take up issue in Assembly

The drive by the Forest department personnel, along with Revenue officials, to clear hundreds of acres of reserve forest in K Shettalli and Karigatta forest range, has raised concern among farmers in the region.

On Saturday, officials were met with stiff opposition in several villages, as they launched the drive to clear encroachment under police security. The farmers threatened to stage an indefinite hunger strike if the officials continue the survey and start clearing encroachments. Following the resistance by farmers, the officials discontinued their drive during the day.

Meeting held
A meeting was convened by MLA Ramesh Bandisiddegowda over the issue. Assistant Conservator of Forests Nagaraju said, encroachments are being cleared following directions by the Green Tribunal of the Supreme Court. Samaja Parivarthana Samudaya had petitioned the Court regarding forest encroachments in the State.

“We have been directed to submit a report regarding the issue by the end of December. As per the survey, more than 500 acres of forest land has been encroached upon in survey no 212. Revenue department has committed a mistake by allotting forest land, notified in 1948, to farmers. Clearing forest land, which were allotted after 1948 is inevitable.

Cases will be booked against farmers, who oppose the process,” he said.
Ramesh said, the Forest department claims to have identified encroachments in Allapatna, Neelanakoppalu, Nagaragatta, Gowdahalli and other villages. He said, he would take up the issue during the ongoing Winter Session of the Assembly and urge the State government to support the farmers.

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