Former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy has raked-up the land encroachment issue against the Congress and the BJP and threatened to approach the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
Deccan Herald reported that he will approach the SC's green bench over alleged encroachment of forest land in Jakkur-Allalasandra area, if the government doesn't initiate action soon. According to the Times of India, Kumaraswamy has alleged that of the 12,000 acres of forest land in Bengaluru, 5,000 acres have been lost due to illegal sale or loss of documentation to prove it is state property.
On September 21, Kumaraswamy accused 50 persons, including industries minister RV Deshpande and some leading builders, encroached upon 177 acres of forest land, producing documents to back his claim. The forest department put the value of the encroached land at approximately Rs 2,000 crore.
Speaking to reporters on Monday , Kumaraswamy said he will wait for 10 days before filing a petition against chief minister Siddaramaiah, revenue minister V Sreenivas Prasad and forest minister B Ramanath Rai.
“I will also name Deshpande, who has encroached upon five acres of land in the plantations,” he added.
Kumaraswamy questioned the intent of the government in recovering the forest land from influential persons and real-estate developers. He said even BJP members haven't raised the issue before the government since they also own property in the Jakkur-Allalasandra plantations. To increase awareness on the issue, he said he will invite environmentalists to speak at a seminar.
Deshpande clarified that he purchased the land after it changed many hands.
Stating that Kumaraswamy is raking up the issue for political mileage, Ramanath Rai told the Times of India that the land in question, which is being disputed as forest land, is still being inspected.
“As per my understanding, the land was given away through grants by the previous regimes. Even Deshpande has said the same. We are still inspecting the land and its records in Bengaluru,” the minister said.
On September 28, as the Bengaluru Urban district administration resumed its encroachment clearance drive, it recovered 8 acres and 8 guntas of land in south Bengaluru. The land recovered in Hosakerehalli, Banashankari, the land's market value is Rs 800 crore.
When the drive was conducted about four months ago, some of the encroachers had sought time to vacate. However, a building belonging to the Kammavari association, sheds, car garage, car showroom and other structures had to be demolished on Monday as they didn't adhere to the deadline.