Rights over land — allotment or encroachment that has allegedly led to homeless labourers being displaced — was the most contentious issue at a meeting of leaders from the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities held at the office of the Deputy Commissioner here on Thursday.

Karnataka Dalita Sangharsha Samiti said the Depressed Classes (DC) Manna land — which is reserved for the socio-economic backward – should be allotted only to landless SC and ST people. Shekar L., president of Dalitha Hakkugala Horata Samithi, alleged that “thousands of acres” of DC Manna land were given to local industries and educational institutions in Belthangady taluk.

Activists said many applications requesting allotment of land to the landless were pending at MCC and Revenue Department.

Among those who complained of “diversion of land” was Shivananda S., an activist from Moodbidri, who claimed that though the tahsildar had cancelled allotment of 2.70 acres of land in Mellikaru village to nine persons, who were from “outside” the state, the order had yet to be followed.

“Though they were given land in 1993, they had not built houses since. The Tahsildar’s cancellation order in 2012 and its allocation to SC/ST persons has not been followed,” he said.

An activist suggested that when the Revenue Department evicted landless persons for encroaching into government land, compensation for the house demolished and subsidy to construct a new house must be paid.

With the complaints mounting, Deputy Commissioner A.B. Ibrahim directed Tahsildars to conduct taluk-wise meetings within a week and submit a report on the action taken on the complaints. “We will ask the district legal services authority to look into the legality of the issues,” he assured the leaders.

Collapsing houses

Activist S.P. Anand said 38 houses built for civic workers in Jeppu-Mahakalipadpu were “on the verge of falling”. When an official confirmed that there was a danger of the houses collapsing during the monsoon, Mr. Ibrahim ordered officials to find alternative arrangements and evict the residents within three days.

Extra fees

Numerous activists claimed that government colleges and aided colleges were demanding capitation fees from students admitted through the quota system. While leaders from Belthangady said government colleges there were asking for Rs. 1,000 for ‘college development’, others said even CET students were being asked to pay extra fees.

Mr. Ibrahim said Block Education Officers would be asked to inquire into the allegations.

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