Was private firm favoured, Survey of India asks DC

TNIE, in its edition dated February 14, 2021, reported that survey numbers are missing, altering the borders of four villages along the coast.

BENGALURU:  The Survey of India, apart from raising questions over missing survey numbers at Honnavar port, has also sought an explanation from the Uttara Kannada deputy commissioner on additional land without survey numbers being handed over to a private firm. 

TNIE, in its edition dated February 14, 2021, reported that survey numbers are missing, altering the borders of four villages along the coast. The Survey of India, in a letter, has asked how the port boundaries were altered and whether it was to help a private Hyderabad-based port company. Officials have acted after local fishermen raised a complaint saying that the land belongs to them, but has been handed over to the firm. The fishermen have also pointed out to the missing survey numbers. 

Uttara Kannada DC Harish Kumar K (now transferred) said that it is an additional piece of land that has formed over a period of time because of sand deposits and the survey numbers are yet to be allocated. As the land belongs to the government, it has been allotted to the company, he added. A surveyor, requesting anonymity, said land normally gets washed away due to soil erosion and sometimes, it extends.

But in this case, the land is between Pavinkurva, Karki and Mallukurva villages in Kasarkod and is at a distance from Honnavar port. The land is crucial as it is part of the Sagarmala project and is at a spot where Sharavathi river enters the Arabian Sea, he added.  The local residents, not convinced with the explanation given by the district administration, have contested the claims and approached courts with land records. They have pointed out that they have been staying here for decades.

They have also staged a series of protests.  The surveyor said that the land is being given to the company on a 99-year lease under the build operate and transfer basis. Environment Secretary Brijesh Kumar said, “I was told that the land falls between two rivers and sand has levelled the land. But as it is not convincing, a detailed report has been sought from the Regional Coastal Zonal Management wing.” 

‘Rules violated’
Ports Department Director, Captain C Swamy, said that as per rules, any additional land is port land, unless transferred to private companies with proper records. Officials from coastal zonal management said it is a violation of coastal zonal management plan which was approved in 2018. The plan too shows that the land existed back then.

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com