Land to be transferred to Revenue Department for allotment to govt. institutions, civic amenities, and tillers

In a drastic move, the Karnataka government is set to drop 6,64,000 hectares of land from ‘deemed forest’ classification. This would mean that the total quantum of State’s deemed forest, which presently stands at 9,94,000 hectares, would be reduced to 3,30,000 hectares.

Announcing this in the Legislative Assembly on Friday, Minister for Forests B.S. Anand Singh said a notification in this regard would be issued soon.

The Minister said the decision on reduction of the quantum of deemed forest land was taken following reports by district-level committees constituted by the Forest Department to examine the issue.

While the quantum of deemed forest is being reduced by over 60%, the Minister said the government was ready for considering further requests related to reduction in the quantum if there were any more genuine cases.

Mr. Singh made the announcement while Revenue Minister R. Ashok was piloting the Karnataka Land Revenue Amendment Bill that seeks to extend the deadline for regularisation of unauthorised cultivation under the Bagair Hukum scheme.

Mr. Ashok said the land removed from the classification of deemed forest would be transferred to the Revenue Department. When it comes to utilising the land to be transferred, the department would give first preference to government institutions and civic amenities, he said. The remaining land would be transferred to those who have been tilling it for a long time based on various procedures, the Minister explained.

The announcement regarding unlocking a large quantum of land from deemed forest classification was hailed by members cutting across party affiliations in the Assembly. Senior Congress member and former Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar thanked Mr. Singh for such a move and said it would help people, particularly farmers.

The Karnataka Land Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which provides for regularisation of unauthorised use of ‘B’ kharab land in Bengaluru and outskirts of the city besides several urban areas in the State, was adopted in the Assembly.

Several Opposition members demanded that similar measures should be extended to villages to help farmers buy ‘B’ kharab land located in their farms. Mr. Ashok said he would soon hold consultations in this regard with the Opposition leaders to decide the ways and means of implementing it.

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