Chunk of deemed forest land to be brought under Revenue Department


The State government has decided to take about six lakh hectares out of the total 9.5 lakh hectares of deemed forest and bring it under the Revenue Department, which will help it distribute land to bagair hukum cultivators in the State, Revenue Minister R. Ashok said on Monday.

Speaking to reporters here after attending a meeting of Revenue and Forest Department Ministers and officials, Mr. Ashok said the Forest Department would retain 3.5 lakh hectares and the government would soon file an affidavit in the Supreme Court in this regard. “The government will also consult the Advocate-General and seek his opinion,” he added.

Forest Minister Anand Singh was also present at the meeting.

He clarified that reserve forests and protected forests do not come under the category, and that it would be applicable to the deemed forest areas where cultivation has been taken up already and homes have come up. The decision will help distribute land among thousands of people who have filed applications under 94C to regularise their cultivation that have been pending for decades now, he added.

Mr. Ashok said the Revenue Department has retained all the land documents pertaining to deemed forests, and the Forest Department has been claiming that the land belongs to them. “There are huge tracts of deemed forests where not a single tree exists, but the Forest Department continues to treat them as forest land. Any land granted by the land grant committee is opposed by the Forest Department. If the Supreme Court accepts our affidavit, it will solve a decades-old problem,” he said.

Mr. Ashok also said they had decided to take a delegation to the Centre to seek higher compensation for flood relief. “We are thinking of taking a delegation, led by Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, to Delhi for this purpose,” he said.

Grant under SDRF

Meanwhile, Karnataka has so far received ₹395 crore under the State Disaster Response Fund from the Centre to strengthen the States to deal with the pandemic. This was stated by Union Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Anurag Singh Thakur in Parliament on Monday. Furthermore, Karnataka has been allowed to raise ₹9,018 crore as additional borrowing of 0.5% GSDP during 2020-21.