Small farmers face threat of eviction

Bageshree S.

Magadi: Sixty-two-year-old Ganga Boriah feels as if the ground beneath his feet has slipped away. And literally so.

Mr. Boriah has been growing ragi in his two-acre patch of land in Chakrabhavi village in Magadi taluk for 35 years. He has documents issued to him by the Revenue Department that declare him the cultivator of the land.

But he now faces threat of eviction from the only piece of land he owns because the Forest Department claims that it lies within the forest area.

Mr. Boriah’s is not an isolated case. It is the common fate of hundreds of small and marginal farmers in 25 villages lying in Kasaba, Solur, Kudur, Tippasandra and Madabal hoblis in Magadi taluk. After cultivating their small patches of land (ranging from 40 guntas to two acres) for two to three generations in many cases, they have now been asked to leave after being branded as “encroachers”.

“Why did they give me these records if the land belonged to the Forest Department? I have no other land and know no other work except farming. Where will I go now?” asked Doddiah of Kalarikaval village, whose earliest records on the land date back to 1965.

Lack of clarity

At the root of the problem is a lack of clarity between two government departments as to the jurisdiction under which these plots of land fall.

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