Farmers booked for encroaching upon 20 acres of BRT land

Farmers booked for encroaching upon 20 acres of BRT land

Govt allotted land for cultivation in 1979, claim farmers

Farmers booked for encroaching upon 20 acres of BRT land

The Forest department has filed cases against the farmers on charges of encroaching and felling trees on 20 acres of land at Uppala forest area under K Gudi forest range in the taluk on Friday.

Sources said, a group of farmers had entered the forest illegally on August 4 and had razed the trees and bushes using six excavators on 20 acres land. The farmers prevented the officers from performing their duty, sources added.

The department had registered cases against a few farmers including Murthy of Doddarayapete village in connection with the encroachment.

As per Wildlife Conservation Act, 1972, entry is banned into Tiger Reserve, and it is a criminal offence to encroach the land falling under the protected area. A case has been registered at Ramasamudra police station against violation of the Act.

But, the farmers have a different version. They claim that the lands were allotted to them for cultivation in 1979. But, there is no document or records with the Revenue department or with the farmers to substantiate their claims.

The Revenue officials claim that Punajanuru and Chamarajanagar forests are notified under Tiger Reserve and before allotting the land for farming or any other purpose, it should be notified by the government.

The tahsildar or any other officers of Revenue department do not have the powers to allot the reserve forest land to farmers or organisations. The area, which has been encroached upon by the farmers of Doddarayapete for tilling, has not been approved by the government, they said.

However, environmentalists have a completely different story to tell, “Lands falling under Punajanuru and Chamarajanagar state forests have been given to farmers to take up mass cultivation under cooperative society, decades ago.

A few influential persons are trying to encroach the forest land by creating fake documents. The district administration should conduct a detailed probe on the issue, they urged.

Protest

Meanwhile, the farmers belonging to Adi Karnataka community staged a protest in the city on Friday, urging the department to drop the cases against the farmers, who have been tilling the land at Punajanuru state forest for years.

The farmers took out a protest rally from Chamarajeshwara Swami temple to deputy commissioner’s office. They submitted a memorandum to Additional DC D Bharathi.

The agitating farmers alleged that the forest department has filed false cases against the farmers and urged the authorities concerned to take necessary measures to allow them continue farming.

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