Bangalore, October 13: Over the past four days, the Bangalore Urban district administration has recovered 31 acres of encroached government land worth Rs. 170 crore in different parts of the city.
This probably comes in the wake of the ongoing protest by the Anti Land-grabbing Action Committee led by freedom fighter H.S. Doreswamy, for over a month now.
While the committee claims that over 40,000 acres is estimated to be encroached in the city, according to the district administration, the extent of encroachment is around 34,111 acres. Of this, around 14,563 acres – a mere 42.7 per cent – has been recovered since 2007.
‘Action plan ready’
Additional District Commissioner R. Venkatachalapathy claimed that an action plan had been formulated to recover the remaining 19,548 acres. Though the action against encroachers coincides with the ongoing protest, he termed this as a “regular drive”, part of the action plan chalked out by the district administration.
However, critical of the government’s action in recovering the encroached land, former MLA A.T. Ramaswamy, who headed the Joint Legislature Committee on encroachment and grabbing of government land in Bangalore, said that the “recovery drive” was just a tip of the iceberg. His report on encroachments in the city was submitted to the government in 2007.
He pointed out that apart from recovering the encroachments, the government must initiate action against land sharks, who have created fake documents to claim ownership over government land. “Land sharks, politicians and bureaucrats have colluded with the government. There are many government officials who have created fake documents for land-grabbing. This scam could be worth around Rs. 2 lakh crore,” he alleged.
‘Invoke Goonda Act’
Mr. Ramaswamy said that the two special deputy commissioners recently appointed by the government have been entrusted with the investigation and identification of land-grab cases across the city. The committee has been demanding that the land-grabbers be booked under the Goonda Act and tried in special courts to be instituted once the Karnataka Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Bill is enacted.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner of Bangalore (Urban) District V. Shankar claimed that the district administration has been booking criminal cases against the encroachers under the amended sections of the Karnataka Land Reforms Act and under the IPC. “We are not even sparing government officials who are found to be hand-in-glove with the encroachers,” he claimed.