BANGALORE: Forest minister C P Yogeshwar made the startling revelation that the state government has unearthed land encroachment to the extent of 2,482 acres valued around Rs 7,000 crore in and around Bangalore Urban and Rural districts.
The minister informed the Legislative Council on Wednesday that the encroachment was allegedly made by several corporate companies, religious institutions, state government agencies and individuals. He detailed that the land, prior to its encroachment, was classified as reserved and minor forests by the forest department.
He was replying to a query raised by JD(S) member Basavaraj Horatti and K C Kondaiah of the Congress. The minister also promised stern action against the culprits and retrieval of the encroached forest land.
A special legal cell has already been set up to deal with the issue. “As many as 132 acres of encroached forest land have been recovered,” he said.
Among the encroachers include Wipro GE Medicals; BPL India Ltd; Jagadguru Balagangadhara Swamiji Education Institute; Onkar Shivapur Swamiji; Director, Bangalore Education Centre (Valley School); Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB); Commissioner, Bangalore Development Authority; and Executive Engineer, TLSS Divn, KPTCL.
Taking note of the problem, the state government recently booked around 602 cases against encroachers invoking section 64(a) of the Karnataka Forest Act, 1963.