The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday directed the State government and the Karnataka Public Land Corporation (KPLC) to submit a plan of action for recovering encroached government land in the State.

A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice B.V. Nagarathna, issued the direction while hearing public interest litigation (PIL) petitions filed by Samaj Parivartan Samudaya and Namma Bangalore Foundation. The petitioners sought a direction to the government to take steps to recover land identified by a joint legislature committee and a task force for recovery of public land during 2006-2011.

The Division Bench also directed that KPLC Managing Director be present in court during hearing to apprise the court of action taken. It asked the KPLC to submit details of its staff strength.

This direction was issued when it was pointed out to the Division Bench by counsel for petitioners that, most of the time, KPLC did not have a full-time managing director, which post was specially created to recover encroached government land and protect such land. The government, counsel said, has been posting an IAS officer, holding other posts, as in-charge managing director KPLC. The Division Bench was also told that more than 50 per cent of sanctioned posts are vacant in KPLC.

Earlier, counsel for the samudaya, citing reports of the committee and the task force, said that 5,145 aces of forest land in Chikmagalur has been encroached upon by 87 individuals but the government has not taken action.

The court will hear the matter again on October 25.

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