- The Karnataka budget indicated that the state had recovered some land from encroachers.
- However, the efforts seem half-hearted, as there is a vast quantity still pending.
- MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar noted that even recovery seems skewed against the poor, overlooking the rich.
In its annual budget for 2017, CM Siddaramaiah stated that the state was successful in recovering a total of 2.02 lakh acres of Government land throughout the state from encroachers. The government also reported that over 5325 acres of land, amounting to Rs 1 lakh crore, was recovered in Bengaluru City alone.
Though these numbers sound high, in reality, they are barely one-third of the total amount suspected to be illegally occupied. A task force that functioned from September 2009 to June 2011 identified 11 Lakh areas of encroached Government Land throughout Karnataka. Also, a Joint Legislative Committee report submitted to the State Government in 2007 stated the total encroached area in Bangalore stood at 13,614 acres.
Indeed, even this approach by the government seems to be the result of active petitioning by activist NGOs, who have been agitating for recovery of such lands. The primary driver has been the Namma Bengaluru Foundation’s Public Interest Litigation (WP No. 15500/2013) filed on 28.03.2013, which directed the state government to recover land illegally grabbed, whether by private persons, an institution, trust or society or even non-governmental associations and organisations.
Not only has the amount of land recovered been lax, those targeted for recovery has also seen a skew. As MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar pointed out earlier - "In Karnataka, there appears to be a set of two separate laws. One for poor and one for powerful and politically connected."
"Public land granted originally for one use is sold or repackaged illegally through several transactions for some other use, with original grantees, builders, and officials all involved. This speaks of pure connivance by the government and government officials, who allow land grabbing. The government must ensure that the errant officials and wealthy encroachers do not get away lightly. All violators, especially officials that aid in the transfer of public land and the encroachers must be booked and prosecuted under Sections 192A, 192B, 200 of the Land Revenue Act, 1964." the MP added.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:51 PM IST