Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Govt cracks down on usurpers

Govt cracks down on usurpers
Deccan Herald

The government has so far recovered a staggering 635 acres of "prime land" worth nearly Rs 400 crore.

The government has now turned the heat on land sharks, albeit without any fuss. The special cell of the State Revenue Department has arrested 45 “encroachers’ of government land in Bangalore Urban district after framing criminal charges against them.

It has so far recovered a staggering 635 acres of “prime land” worth nearly Rs 400 crore.

The cases have been filed under 192(a) of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act and Section 447 of Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The arrests have been made in all five taluks of the district — Anekal, Bangalore South, Bangalore North, Bangalore North (additional) and Bangalore East.

“So far, criminal cases have been filed against a total of 432 ‘encroachers’ and steps to arrest all of them will follow soon,” official sources in the Revenue Department told Deccan Herald.

Principal Secretary to the Revenue Department S M Jamadar confirmed the arrests but did not divulge the names of those arrested. He also refused to give any details of the properties recovered.

No names, details

Interestingly, the special cell headed by Bangalore Urban Deputy Commissioner M A Sadiq began arresting the encroachers soon after the Legislature session was adjourned on February 21. In fact, top officials of the Revenue and Police Departments decided to go ahead with the arrests at a high-level meeting on February 21. Though the special cell had filed cases over a month ago, it was yet to initiate steps to arrest anyone. Those against whom cases have been filed include close relatives of some influential persons, but they have not been arrested yet.

“But action will be taken sooner than later,” the sources said.

The clampdown on encroachments is a follow up to the report of the Joint House Committee headed by A T Ramaswamy, which estimated that 13,614 acres of government land worth Rs 27,377 crore has been encroached.

The special cell has so far initiated process for recovering 1,040 acres of encroached government revenue land and officials pegged the worth of these lands at around Rs 1,000 crore (at Rs 1 crore per acre).

Official sources said the government has decided to set up a special court to try these cases, as has been recommended by the Committee.


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