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Land-grab issue: Government flayed for inaction

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Seeking immediate action: Janata Dal (Secular) leaders A.T. Ramaswamy (left ) and Krishna at the press conference in Bangalore on Tuesday.
Seeking immediate action: Janata Dal (Secular) leaders A.T. Ramaswamy (left ) and Krishna at the press conference in Bangalore on Tuesday.

Special Correspondent

Demand to set up State commission to recover encroached government land

Ramaswamy headed the Joint Legislature Committee on encroachment of government land

Committee report says 45,000 acres of land have been encroached upon in and around Bangalore

BANGALORE: Former MLA A.T. Ramaswamy and former Legislative Assembly Speaker Krishna on Tuesday hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party Government for its inaction against land-grabbers in and around Bangalore city, and demanded setting up of a permanent State Commission to identify and recover encroached government land across the State.

The Janata Dal (Secular) leaders said the Government came to power about four months ago but no action had been taken to recover 8,717 acres of land belonging to the Revenue Department. The land mafia produced fake documents and grabbed 5,560 acres of government land in and around Bangalore, they said. Mr. Ramaswamy, who headed the Joint Legislature Committee on encroachment of government land in Bangalore Urban district, and Mr. Krishna met Mr. Yeddyurappa and submitted a memorandum to him. Mr. Ramaswamy said the much-debated Karnataka Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Bill 2007 was yet to receive the assent of President Pratibha Patil.

Bill

The State Legislature passed the Bill in April 2007, to prohibit people operating individually and in groups in grabbing land belonging to the State Government, local authorities and religious or charitable institutions, either by force or by deceit. The Bill was formulated on the lines of Andhra Pradesh Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Act, 1982. Apart from declaring land grabbing as unlawful, the Bill provides for special courts to try land-grabbing cases, the former Janata Dal (S) MLAs said. The land grabbers were forming bogus cooperative housing societies or setting up fictitious claims and indulging in unprecedented and fraudulent sales of land through unscrupulous real estate dealers resulting in large-scale accumulation of unaccounted wealth. The final report of the committee stated that 45,000 acres of land worth a whopping Rs. 50,000 crore had been grabbed in and around Bangalore.

Mr. Krishna said the Government should set up a State-level commission to identify and recover encroached land in different towns and cities in the State. The former Speaker quoted Minor Irrigation Minister Govind Karjol’s statement that the people had grabbed tank bed areas worth Rs. 50,000 crore in the State, and said the Government must demonstrate its commitment to recover land grabbed by rich industrialists in the city. Wakf Minister Mumtaz Ali Khan also stated that several crores worth wakf properties had been encroached in the State, Mr. Krishna said.

If the Government failed to take action against the land mafia, the Janata Dal (S) would launch a campaign and inform the public about the Government’s failure to tackle the issue, they said.

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