Special Correspondent

Minister suggests task force for evicting encroachers from tank land

Under first stage, Department of Minor Irrigation spent Rs. 258 crore for rejuvenating 2,005 tanks

In Bangalore Urban district 5,000 acres of tank land has been encroached upon: Minister

Bangalore: The World Bank has approved the State Government’s Rs. 240-crore second stage tank rejuvenation project to be taken up in Shimoga (six tanks), Belgaum (seven tanks), Chickmagalur (six tanks), Bijapur (four tanks), Davangere (five tanks), Dharwad (three tanks), Uttara Kannada (four tanks) and Hassan (two tanks) district, under the Jala Samvardhana Yojana Association.

Disclosing this to presspersons, the Minister for Minor Irrigation Govind M. Karajol said that accordingly, the Finance Department had allocated the amount in the budget for tank development in 37 taluks. However, the works could be taken up only after they were approved by the World Bank.

Under the first stage, the Department of Minor Irrigation had spent Rs. 258 crore out of Rs. 508 crore sanctioned by the World Bank for rejuvenating 2,005 tanks in Kolar, Chickballapur, Tumkur, Raichur, Haveri, Chitradurga, Bidar, Bagalkot, Bellary and Koppal districts.

Progress

The work on 600 tanks in these ten districts has been progressing in different stages. Works relating to several tanks in different taluks were not complete and the bank had agreed to continue the work and re-do some of those that it was not satisfied with. He said that tank rejuvenation work could not be carried out by the department and that only non-governmental organisations should do it, under conditions laid down by the bank. The department, which was in charge of 3,600 of the 36,000 tanks in the State has the target of irrigating 50,000 acres in 2008-09.

The remaining tanks are under the Department of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj.

Value

In Bangalore Urban district, the Minister said that 5,000 acres of tank land had been encroached upon, valued at over Rs. 50,000 crore. The department wants to irrigate 10,000 hectares in the district, he said.

Encroachment

The Minister, who held two meetings with senior officials of the departments of Revenue, Police, Forest and Land Records to discuss ways and means of evicting encroachers, said that he was holding a crucial meeting with them on September 4.

The police, he said were in confusion over slapping criminal cases against the encroachers on the premise that name of the department was not mentioned in the record of rights over the land.

Writing to CM

Mr. Karajol said that he would request in writing to Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa to constitute a powerful task force for evicting encroachers from government land under all the departments.

He also said that the survey of land belonging to the tanks in the State had to be done through a government agency, so that encroachers could not question the veracity.

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