MLC alleges encroachment of 15,000 acres of forest land

Last Updated 19 October 2013, 20:39 IST

A BJP Member of the Legislative Council on Saturday sought a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into alleged encroachment of about 15,000 acres of prime forest land at Shivanasamudra.

Addressing media persons here, Go Madhusudan said M V Savithri, a former deputy commissioner of Chamarajnagar, had facilitated the encroachment.

Demanding that criminal charges be initiated against her, he said the order by Savithri had mala fide intent, was in clear violation of Land Reforms Act, and amounted to contempt of court.

Madhusudan said the order by Savithri on July 8 to transfer about 1,360 acres of land at Sattegala village (Survey No 1, Palya Hobli, Kollegal taluk) and about 12,260 acres of forest land at Shivanasamudra (Survey No 174), was illegal. The transfer also violates a decision taken by Kollegal assistant commissioner (AC), A B Basavaraju, on December 13, 2011. Basavaraju had cancelled legalising encroachment by 12 parties.

 Moreover, since the land was declared forest land by the High Court, the decision amounts to contempt of court, he said.

“Due to the decision, forest land around Gaganachukki and Bharachukki waterfalls are in private hands. A hydro-power project in the area is also facing problems due to the illegal transfer of land,” he said.

 According to the Land Reforms Act, the AC has all powers to solve disputes regarding revenue land. “A decision taken by an AC can only be challenged in either the High Court or the Karnataka Administrative Tribunal.

However, taking cognisance of the parties who appealed against the AC’s decision, Savithri conducted magisterial proceedings illegally. Since forest land was in question, an investigation should have been conducted by including the Deputy Conservator of Forests and the Assistant Conservator of Forests as respondents. But the transfer was made without seeking their opinion,” he alleged.

Moreover, people who are not eligible to buy land in the State, as per Karnataka Land Reforms Act, own land in the region, he said.

Inam village

Sattegala is an inam village. Only tenants of the land, who were farmers prior to 1974, have been given concession under the Inam Land Abolition Act. Forest land with Survey numbers 1 and 174 belong to the government.

Since, there are vested interests behind the encroachment, a CBI investigation is necessary, he said.

(Published 19 October 2013, 18:50 IST)

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