BENGALURU: Taking up a suo motu public interest petition based on newspaper reports about an illegal resort being constructed in the Bhadra reserve forest in Chikkamagaluru district, the High Court on Thursday issued notice to Department of Forest, Environment and Ecology, Revenue Department, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) and Deputy Conservator of Forest (DCF), Chikkamagaluru.
The court also issued notice to Range Forest Officers of Bhadra and Masagali reserve forests, Chikkamagaluru Deputy Commissioner and D S Satish Gowda, a honorary wildlife warden of the Bhadra reserve forest, who has been accused of building a resort.
The PIL states that Satish Gowda is building a luxury resort at a cost of `2 crore by encroaching forest land to the extent of 50x9 metres, besides grabbing nearly two acres in Survey No 262, a notified deemed forest area.
Gowda, who was appointed to the post four months ago, is constructing a huge building on 0.75 acres of land situated between Bhadra Protected Forest and Masagali Reserve Forest without obtaining any permission or no-objection certificate from authorities. He is also accused of trying to build a road to his property.
Though Gowda has claimed to be practicing organic farming on the land, there were no signs of any such activity. But he has constructed a huge pond, an electric fence around the building and even altered the courseof a stream to facilitate the construction. A narrow track through the forest has been widened to a 30-ft road by cutting trees, the petition states.
Gowda owns seven acres of land in Survey No 216 in Sirivase, which is adjacent to the Bhadra and Masagali Protected Forests. He has not obtained permission for change in land use but got a building licence from the local panchayat for constructing a farm house on agricultural land. Hence, the Forest Department had registered an FIR against Gowda