Activists opposed to acquisition of 10,500 acres of Amrit Mahal Kaval grasslands in Chitradurga say that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has assured them that he would look into the issue.

Activist Vinay Sreenivasa said in a press release here on Wednesday that the most encouraging assurance came from Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who met the leaders of the November 29 protest at Belgaum in which 7,000 people participated.

According to him, Mr. Siddaramaiah said that he would immediately implement the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers’ (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, which will empower those communities that are dependent on Amril Mahal Kaval grasslands for their livelihood.

The activists met Mr. Siddaramaiah at the circuit house in Belgaum on November 29 on the sidelines of the Assembly session. The release quoted him as saying that he was aware of the problems faced by the pastoralist communities dependent on the grasslands at Chellakere taluk of Chitradurga. The plan to divert the 10,500 acres of Amrit Mahal Kaval land was taken by the previous governments and he is able to do little to overturn the decision, the Chief Minister reportedly said.

“He promised us that he would discuss the matter within the government on the possibility of overturning the decision to acquire the pastures,” Mr. Sreenivasa said.

The Chief Minister also promised to hold a meeting to discuss all the demands of the agricultural labourers soon after the conclusion of the Assembly session, Mr. Sreenivasa added.

He said this is the first time a senior government functionary has taken note of their protest.

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