BENGALURU:Namma Bengaluru Foundation and freedom fighter H S Doreswamy on Tuesday said they will jointly step up pressure on the government to act against instances of land encroachment across the city and state.
While the Foundation has been fighting the issue by filing a public interest petition in the High Court, Doreswamy has been protesting against the government demanding implementation of the A T Ramaswamy Report as well as the Basalasubramanian Task Force Report.
“Court work must happen alongside protests and agitation. We can use the power of the court to force officials to take action and the power of the people to make the government listen. Those people who have encroached upon land shamelessly as well as the officials responsible for it must be dismissed and brought to book,” the 96-year-old freedom fighter said at a press conference.
Stating that land recovered from encroachers must be earmarked for housing schemes and small industry instead of being auctioned off, Doreswamy, however, warned that the government must put stringent rules in place to avoid the land falling into the hands of encroachers once again.
“We are also demanding a fast track court to deal with cases based on the A T Ramaswamy report. Cases must be disposed of in six months with no scope for appeal,” he said.
The Ramaswamy committee report says that one-third of government land, totalling 41,303 acres, worth Rs 1.03 lakh crore in the city had been encroached upon. The PIL filed by NBF seeks the court’s intervention to direct the government to recover the land.
Last year, based on directions from the court, the Deputy Commissioners of respective districts were directed by the government to prepare a time-bound action plan for removal of encroachments.
“The state has initiated action against small encroachments but has left the big ones untouched. However, with the monitoring of the court, around 1,000 acres of government land, valued at Rs 18,500 crore, have been recovered. In the rest of the state, since December 2013, the High Court has monitored the removal of encroachments of about 47,000 acres valued at Rs 24,500 crore,” a statement from the NBF said.
Doreswamy also lambasted the Special Deputy Commissioners tasked with recovering land in Bengaluru Urban and Rural districts.
“They have not been able to achieve anything. They themselves do not have a clear picture and do not listen to us. We have been advising them to take all the land together instead of small parts. It will take 100 years for them to recover all the land,” he said.