Thursday, February 22, 2007

Forest land occupied by BDA recovered

Forest land occupied by BDA recovered
The Hindu

Probe commission recommends penalty of Rs. 1.06 crore

RESTORATION: The Forest Department planting saplings on the land recovered from the BDA at Turahalli near Bangalore on Wednesday. — Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash

BANGALORE: The Bangalore Development Authority finds itself in a mess over the Turahalli forest land scam in the wake of a high-level official investigation concluding it had encroached on 35 acres of the deciduous minor forest and recommending a penalty of Rs. 1.06 crore.

The BDA illegally helped itself to a chunk of the 597-acre Turahalli minor forest, about 20 km from Bangalore, to form a residential layout at Banashankari 6th Stage, according to S.M. Jaamdar, Principal Secretary, Revenue Department, and the former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests S. Parameshwarappa.

Both have submitted independent reports to Upa Lokayukta G. Patri Basavana Goud and recommended the prosecution of the former BDA Commissioner Jayakar Jerome and V.R. Ilkal, Under-Secretary, Urban Development Department, besides two retired BDA officials. They all have been accused of wilful violation of the Forest Conservation Act.

Even as the investigation was in progress, the Forest Department was cordoning off the Turahalli minor forest to pre-empt any more encroachment. This correspondent found a 7.5-km trench under construction around the encroached portion. Forester Bylappa, supervising the operation, told The Hindu that once the trench was complete, the forest would be recreated and restored to its original status.

Deputy Conservator of Forests (Bangalore Urban) A.M. Annaiah said, "The area is important from the point of view of biodiversity and conservation of endangered species. This is the only lung space for south Bangalore."

The investigative team also found that 61 acres of land had been encroached on. As for the BDA's culpability, Mr. Parameshwarappa and Mr. Jaamdar said apart from recovering the land, the BDA should be fined Rs. 1.06 crore to help re-afforest the area.

The team also found fake documents where 43 sale deeds were registered between July 28, 2006 and August 17, 2006 involving 75 acres of forest land.

It discovered that the Survey Settlement and Land Records Department had illegally created six survey numbers over an area of 25 acres and allotted them to six persons.


Post a Comment

<< Home