Bail out forest encroachers: Gowda

Bangalore Nov. 13. The former Prime Minister, H.D.Deve Gowda, has urged the Chief Minister, S.M.Krishna, to convene an emergency meeting of top Forest Department officials and deputy commissioners on regularising forest land and to issue pattas to those who had been cultivating the encroached land before the cut-off date of April 27, 1978.

In a letter to the Chief Minister, Mr. Gowda said that thousands of SC/STs, OBCs, and the landless poor, who have been cultivating the land, now faced the threat of eviction following the Supreme Court order.

Mr. Gowda said the Union Government decided on May 15, 1996 to regularise 14,848.83 ha. in 19,348 cases with some conditions. There was no need for a survey of the encroached areas as the Union and State governments had already done that after which the order on regularisation was issued.

The former Prime Minister said details about the monthly survey should be sent to the forest officials of the Union and State governments before the 10th of every month. Now, it was the responsibility of the State Government to implement the order and issue pattas to people cultivating the encroached land. Mr. Gowda said the solution to the problem was easy. The State Government could transfer the land from the Forest Department to the Revenue Department for issuing pattas.

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