Special Correspondent

Task force formed to monitor encroachment

Ramaswamy Committee detected encroachment of 33,878 acres of government land

9,033 acres have been recovered so far

BANGALORE: Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa on Tuesday said the Government will punish all politicians and officials who are involved in encroachment of government lands in the city and other parts of the State.

Mr. Yeddyurappa, who announced the constitution of a 10-member Government Land Protection Task Force, headed by retired IAS officer V. Balasubramanian, to protect government land from encroachment in the State in the Legislative Assembly, said all those who indulged in land-grabbing would be punished. The money collected from auction of lands would be enough to run the government for one year, he said.

The task force has been assigned the job of not only recovering encroached government land but also to protect government land in the future. The Chief Minister said the Joint Legislature Committee on encroachment of government land in Bangalore City and Urban district, headed by former MLA A.T. Ramaswamy, had detected encroachment of 33,878 acres of land worth crores of rupees belonging to various government departments. As many as 9,033 acres had been recovered so far.

Bill

Mr. Yeddyurappa said the Karnataka Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Bill 2007, has not yet received the assent of President Pratibha Patil. The State Legislature passed the Bill to prohibit people operating individually and in groups in grabbing land belonging to the State Government, local authorities, religious or charitable institutions, either by force or by deceit. Apart from declaring land-grabbing as unlawful, the Bill provides for special courts to try land-grabbing cases, he said. The Chief Minister said the task force was set up because there was a need to implement the report and ensure that such encroachments did not take place again. The task force would meet every three months and review the progress, he said.

Welcoming the government’s decision to constitute the task force, members cutting across party lines opposed auction of lands. The encroached lands in the city should be recovered to keep for public purposes, they said.

Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah and Mr. T.B. Jayachandra (Congress) appealed to the government to register criminal cases against officials and politicians involved in land-grabbing.

The former Deputy Chief Minister and Mr. Baig alleged that several influential persons have encroached on land and created fake records in collusion with officials.

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