The recent changes in the Pahani (RTC) of revenue land prompted the residents of villages in Shankar Shanbhog Gram Panchayat of Sagar taluk to take out a protest march on Thursday.
The revenue lands in the villages - Marathi, Adagalale, Kodanavalli - have been shown as part of the Ambaragudda Bio-diversity Heritage Site in the latest RTCs, leaving the residents in shock.
Under the leadership of former Minister and senior Congress leader Kagodu Thimmappa, former MLA Belur Gopalakrishna and others, the villagers took out a march from Marathi village which ended at Nada Kacheri at Sullalli village.
Mr.Thimmappa, who inaugurated the march, said the Revenue Department had handed over its land to the Forest Department without any survey. It was against the farmers and local residents. The Revenue Department withdraw the land.
Locals, he said, had been living in the place for ages. They had conserved the biodiversity of the area all these years. Taking any decision without taking them into confidence was highly deplorable.
Former MLA Belur Gopalakrishna said the people in the backwaters of Sharavathi had been facing many difficulties. The latest was handing over the revenue land to the Forest Department. “The area where people had been living for many years had been brought under the limits of the Ambaragudda Biodiversity Heritage Site,” he said.
The protesters walked for about 16 km. Along the march, they chanted anti-government slogans and demanded that the government remove human habitats from the heritage site area.
An area of 3,857.17 acres was notified as the Ambaragudda Biodiversity Heritage Site in November 2011. This was done following the local people’s protest against mining operations in the area. “In fact, the local people conserved the areas for years and protested against mining operations, which prompted the government to declare it a heritage site. However, now the people who fought to conserve it are facing the problem,” said G.T. Satyanarayana, former president of Tumari panchayat.