Siddaramaiah holds meeting to resolve Diddalli tribals' eviction issue

577 families were evicted for 'occupying' forest land in Kodagu dist

Siddaramaiah holds meeting to resolve Diddalli tribals' eviction issue

Now, it is the responsibility of Revenue Minister Kagodu Thimmappa to rehabilitate Diddalli tribals of Kodagu. They have been evacuated by the forest department from Devamacchi reserve forest.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah held a meeting in Bengaluru on Tuesday to discuss ways of rehabilitating the tribals. On behalf of the displaced tribals, freedom fighter H S Doreswamy, advocate A K Subbaiah, Sirimane Nagaraj, film actor Chethan and others participated.

The forest department razed the huts of 577 tribals at Diddalli last December saying they had encroached upon the reserve forest. Since then, the tribals, with support from non-government organisations and some individuals, have been staging protests condemning the eviction and demanding rehabilitation.

After the meeting, Revenue Minister Kagodu Thimmappa told reporters that as many 577 tribal families were evicted overnight.

They have been provided with temporary sheds. In Tuesday’s meeting, the ways of providing permanent dwellings were discussed, he added.

The minister said he would visit Kodagu on April 17 and 18 to meet officers and tribals. While officers say the tribals had occupied the forest area, the displaced persons have been arguing that they were living on revenue land. In case the land belonged to the revenue department, then within next 15 days, they would get possession certificates. In addition, they would also get houses, he said.

Kagodu said that in case the records reveal that the land belonged to the forest department, then they cannot rehabilitate them at the same place. “It is a challenge for the government to find a solution to this problem. I have accepted it,” he added.

Replying to a question, the minister said even now, bonded labour system continues in coffee plantations of Kodagu and Chikkamagaluru. This was pointed out at Tuesday’s meeting. It is a shame that the system continues despite its abolition.

“Coffee plantation owners take away ration cards, Aaadhaar cards and voter identity cards of tribals to make them work in plantations. Revenue inspectors and village accountants will be asked to conduct a survey to identify the bonded labourers so that they can be rehabilitated,” he said.
DH News Service

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