Residents in a fix as entire village faces eviction

Forest dept notice says that the village is part of reserve forest

The residents of Basavarajapura near Halebeedu, Hassan district, are in a fix as the Forest department has asked them to vacate the village. The notice says that the land in question was a reserved forest and all construction and agricultural activities taken up in the village was illegal.

However, the residents of the village, which is located around four kilometer from Halebeedu, claim that their families have been residing there since the past eight decades. Villagers claim that the land was sanctioned to them by the government and they have relevant documents.

“The Forest department is unnecessarily harassing us by issuing the notice. A total of 110 families are residing in the village,” the villagers said.

According to the notice issued by the Forest department on May 5, the village is a part of survey number 1 of Kallahalli Reserve Forest.

Notice

“The Forest land has been illegally encroached upon, which is in violation of Section 24 and 73 of the Karnataka Forest Act, 1963,” the notice read. The notice also asks the villagers to clear the encroachments in a week’s time, failing which the department would take legal action.

According to Hanumantha Bhovi, a resident, Basavarajapura had been inhabited before Independence. That is the reason why most of the families in the village have title deeds for their lands.

“In 1957-58, 80 families were sanctioned four acres of land each. After about 20 years, RTCs were issued to the lands by the Revenue department. More than 50 farmers practice agriculture and loans have been sanctioned by banks. The government too has built several structures, such as Ashraya houses, anganwadis and schools. The notice has left us helpless,” he said.

Anil Kumar, another resident, said, the government should allow the villagers to stay on their lands. Eviction might push a few residents of the village towards suicide, he warned.

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