Forest dept lays claim to 2K acres of land in B'luru

 The Forest Department is laying claim to about 2,000 acres of land in Bengaluru Urban district, whose ownership is unclear but where development has already happened in some parts.

The State government is keen to know the status of about 13,000 acres of “controversial land” in the district. Out of this, the Forest Department is claiming ownership of 2,000 acres. To dig out this information, the government recently formed a seven-member committee headed by Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (APCCF), U V Singh.

A source in the forest department told Deccan Herald that the government wasn’t able to establish the ownership of about 2,000 acres of land. Till 1975, the State government had the power to denotify and take over forest land. Between 1975 and 1980, this power rested with the legislature and subsequently the Central government.

The Forest Department infers that the disputed 2,000 acres of land actually belongs to it. The U V Singh committee will now dig through revenue archives to check the status of all controversial parcels of land since 1900.

There is no land record that shows to whom these 2,000 acres belong: the Revenue Department, the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) or panchayats. There is no record either to show that the land belongs to builders or individuals, the source explained.

To solve this puzzle, the Forest Department and the U V Singh Committee will look into revenue archives of the erstwhile Madras Presidency and the Princely States of Hyderabad and Mysore. The committee will write to the deputy commissioners of Chennai, Hyderabad and Mysuru seeking their assistance.

The source went on: “There is no problem with records pertaining to land dealings from 1980 onwards. We have been able to find 85 per cent of land records.

“Records for 15 per cent of reserve forest land haven’t been changed in the Revenue Department. These include lakes, lakebeds and forest patches where residential and commercial units buildings have come up.”

The other members of the committee are APCCFs, K S Sugara, Meenakshi Negi and Hari Kumar Jha, CCF, G S Kariyappa, former APCCF Venkatasubbaiah and the Bangalore Urban Deputy Conservator of Forests, Sunil Panwar.

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