Illegal ‘resorts’ near Hampi cleared


A drive to clear encroachments in the reserve forest land on Virupapura gadda (island) in Tungabhadra river near Hampi, in Gangavati taluk began on Sunday.

Earthmovers were pressed into service to demolish the unauthorised structures that had come up on the protected area, under the jurisdiction of the Hampi World Heritate Area Management Authority, which were being used as ‘resorts’ on the island.

The drive was held under the supervision of authorities, including M. Pavankumar, Assistant Commissioner (Hosapete) and Commissioner, Hampi World Heritage Area Management Authority; Prabhakar, Deputy Conservator of Forest, Koppal, and police officials.

Official sources told The Hindu that the ‘resorts’ had come up illegally on the reserve forest land, which was granted by the local panchayat to construct houses under Ashraya in 2010. Following eviction notice issued by the authorities, some of them had approached the Dharwad bench of Karnataka High Court, where the petition was dismissed stating that the panchayat had no right. Meanwhile, some people had lodged a complaint with the Lokayukta against the officials for not initiating action against the encroachers.

The authorities, who had served eviction notices earlier, issued one more notice recently asking those residing there to vacate. When there was no response, the authorities took up the drive.

Caught unaware about the operation, the residents staged protests and also tried to stall the drive.

The drive was carried out under heavy police bandobast. When contacted, Mr. Pavankumar told The Hindu that the drive would continue for the next couple of days. According to him, except a few ‘resorts’/guest houses, which had obtained stay from the Supreme Court and a couple of others from the Karnataka High Court, all other unauthorised constructions were being removed. He said that the process of getting the stay in the Supreme Court and High Court was under way and on getting a court order, the other constructions would also be removed.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 1:56:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/illegal-resorts-near-hampi-cleared/article7907284.ece

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