Land Revenue Law will be amended to allow farmers to cultivate “bagair hukum” land

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A woman takes her own life in Gadag after forest officials cleared standing crops on the land

A woman takes her own life in Gadag after forest officials cleared standing crops on the land

Following the incident of a woman end her life after forest officials taluk in Gadag district Mundaragi cleared crops on forest land encroachment ( “bagair hukum”) and many farmers filing petitions in the courts seeking cultural rights to the land, the state government on Tuesday informed the legislative Assembly that the law on personal income Karnataka land, 1964 would be amended and the words “land grabbing” would be removed to allow farmers to cultivate land in forest areas.

Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister JC Madhuswamy said the government would make amendments to Section 92(A) of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act and remove words allowing farmers to cultivate land in forest areas.

“Bagair hukum” is a piece of government/forest owned land that has been cultivated by farmers over the years without having any formal and documented ownership rights over it.

Case of “harassment”

There are many examples of farmers who cultivate 2-3 acres in forest areas for many years, and officials of the Department of Forests face the charge of harassment of families of various farmers quoting rules, said the minister.

Earlier, HK Patil (Congress) raised the issue during Zero Hour and said two women had consumed poison following clearance of cultivated land by Forestry Department officials at Kelur village in Mundargi taluk and the one of them died.

Mr Patil said that although there was a circular that allowed farmers to cultivate up to three acres in the forest region, authorities had evicted farmers. Senior leaders and former chief ministers BS Yediyurappa and Siddaramaaiah also opposed the action of the Forestry Department and demanded that the government appoint a House committee to look into the matter.

President Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri said Forest Department officials harassed families citing Supreme Court and Green Bench orders. Authorities had cleared up encroachments by destroying areca nut plantations and other plantations, Kageri said. KR Ramesh Kumar (Congress) said a woman was jailed for encroaching on six guntas of land in her constituency of Kolar district.

Forest Rights Act

Mr Madhuswamy said steps would be taken to ensure proper implementation of the Forest Rights Act and changes would be introduced in the Revenue Act. He said adequate compensation would be given to the victim’s family in Gadag district.

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