Friday, April 27, 2012

News Article: “All encroachments should be removed”


Areas near water bodies must be declared as green zones”
All encroachments on lands under control of panchayat unions, town panchayats and village panchayats should be removed immediately. If the local bodies faced any problem in eviction, they should seek the help of the police and revenue officials. Encroachments on water bodies must be removed, according to Collector N. Venkatachalam.

He was presiding over a special meeting with heads of local bodies at Vadamadurai here on Thursday.

Prior date should be fixed and notices served on the removal of encroachments. All efforts should be taken to prevent creation of housing plots or construction activities near water bodies. If there were any habitations, they should be removed immediately.

House tax to such dwellings should not be fixed by local bodies. If they already fixed taxes, it should be cancelled.

Areas near water bodies and water sources should be declared as green zones. Ban on all construction activities in such areas should be imposed, he said.

Watersheds and existing water bodies are essential for village panchayats to improve the water table. More watershed areas should be developed and the existing ones be maintained by panchayats to keep the villages green. All supply channels and rural tanks should be maintained properly, he ordered.

The local bodies could utilise the general fund for streamlining drinking water supply. Prior permission from the Collector was essential for using the general fund for other purposes, the Collector said.

Green houses
A total 83 green houses were being constructed at Kanapadi, Paganatham, Thennampatti, P. Kosavapatti, Kulathur and Padiyur in Vadamadurai block. Of these, construction was over up to the roof stage in 32 houses, up to lintel in 18 houses, up to basement in 13 houses. All construction activities should be expedited and houses ready within a month.

Panchayat unions should take the responsibility in maintaining sanitary complexes. It could be maintained with private participation. The SHGs could be roped in for maintenance work, he said.

Copyright © 2012, The Hindu

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

News Article: Govt aiding illegal encroachments in water bodies - HC

Abhinav Sharma, TNN Apr 24, 2012, 01.16AM IST

Tags: water bodies|ILLEGAL ENCROACHMENTS| HC|Gov

JAIPUR: The Rajasthan High Court on Monday came down heavily on the state government over illegal allotments and encroachments in the catchment area of water bodies in the state, saying the government was encouraging such illegality with active aide of its officials. The harsh criticism came soon after the government moved an application demanding that the PIL related to encroachments of water bodies shall be heard by a division bench when the court was about to pronouncement its judgment after several months of hearing.

"There seems to be no intention on the part of the government to deal with the problem of water crisis and officials including the chief secretary are totally irresponsible and have failed to take any action in the past eight months. This shows how the state's claim on seriously handling the ever-persistent problem of potable water in Rajasthan is nothing more than a mirage," said Justice M N Bhandari. The single judge bench, which has been hearing a PIL demanding restoration of water bodies for the past several months, was expected to pronounce its judgment on Monday.

However, soon after the court took up the hearing in the morning, the state government moved an application requesting that the matter shall be heard by a division bench as the issue is of larger public interest. This was strongly opposed by the members of court-appointed monitoring committee.

"The state government had time and again assured this court that they would take appropriate steps against encroachments. Even the chief secretary who appeared before the court in March along with other principal secretaries had given an undertaking that the government would itself take a conscious decision to see that the water bodies in the state are restored to their original shapes and dimensions as per law. Now, the government's application that the matter be heard by a division bench when the judgment was to be pronounced is contemptuous," contended senior advocate Virendra Dangi, a member of the monitoring committee.

Justice M N Bhandari then directed chief secretary C K Mathew to appear in person, who soon arrived in the court. The bench asked Mathew to explain as to why contempt proceedings shall not be taken against him and other principal secretaries who had earlier appeared along with him and wasted court's time.

"We know the design behind such applications. It is clear that the government machinery is being misused by a few. There seems to be no seriousness towards the issue of consistent droughts and scarcity of potable water and encroachment in water bodies. Not only illegal allotments have been made, but those were regularized by the government itself in river beds, ponds, dams and catchment areas of such bodies," observed Justice Bhandari.

Earlier, the state government in an affidavit filed in the court had confessed that the catchment areas of rivers, dams and other water bodies have not only been illegally allotted but also regularised against the law. However, the officials had taken a view that in case the original status of all the water bodies -- as it existed in 1947-- is restored, it will create law and order problem. As such, the court's order would be complied effective from 2004 when a judgment to that effect was delivered.

Dangi brought to the notice of the court that Section 16 of Rajasthan Tenancy Act, 1955, bars allotment of any land of water bodies to any private persons.

The bench asked Mathew, "What action did you take pursuant to the undertaking given on March 23. What action has been taken against the erring officials and where is the list of their names?"

"We held one meeting thereafter. We came to know that as per the rules, the matter is required to be heard by a division bench. As such, we moved the application and held no meeting. We haven't prepared any list of officers as required and undertaken by me," told Mathew.

Reprimanding Mathew, the bench then sought a direction on the issue from the Chief Justice with a clear note on the conduct of the state government.

© 2012 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

News Article: Now on, no pasture land for industry

KapilDave : Gandhinagar, Sun Apr 22 2012, 03:03 hrs

The state government is likely to announce a new gauchar (pastoral) land policy to comply with the last year’s Supreme Court order asking state governments to not sell government-owned pastoral land for industrial or commercial use.

A policy draft prepared by the state’s revenue department says the government will not give any pastoral land for industrial or commercial purposes and will also ensure these are not encroached against the interests of the local community.

C L Meena, principal secretary (revenue), told The Indian Express, “We have finalised the draft for the new gauchar policy and sent it to the finance department for their final views. We expect to get it cleared soon.”

Under the new policy, we will not give gauchar land for industrial or commercial purposes. If a gauchar land is in middle of an urban area, the government will denotify and sell the land and develop pastures at an alternate site. In some cases, the government has given land for some public purposes, for instance, schools, which require adjoining gauchar land. In such cases, we will sell the land to them and use the money in developing new pastoral land,” Meena added.

Asked about the money realised by the state government by selling gauchar land to industries, Meena said, “We have started handing over 30% of such amount to village panchayats for the development of alternate gauchar land. Around Rs 23 crore have already been disbursed to villages.”

The SC order had said that “pastoral land and other community resources belonging to a village shall not be given for industrial or commercial use and should strictly be used for communities”.

The apex court had directed all the state governments to formulate schemes for eviction of illegal/unauthorised occupants of land meant for the Gram Sabhas and Gram Panchayats.

In the last three years, the state government has sold or given away a total of 1.16 lakh square metres of gauchar land in five districts for other uses. Around 424 villages in the state have no pastoral land left.

The state should have 39.56 lakh hectares of grazing land, as per a revenue department notification issued in December 1988, which mandated 16 hectares (40 acres) of pastoral land for 100 animals in normal areas and 8 hectares (20 acres) for the same in forest areas.

As against this, the state only has an estimated 8.5 lakh hectares, a data that has hardly changed since the state’s formation in 1960.

Encroachment over pastoral land in state is becoming a big problem. According to the government’s own data as on September 2010, there were 50,771 encroachments in around 16,000 villages, of which 36,960 encroachments had existed for over five years.

A state government notification passed in 1999 had promised to compensate villagers whose pasture land was taken away. As per the notification, government was to charge 30% more from the party which was sold the pasture land and give it to the gram panchayat to buy alternate pasture land or develop one. The scheme, however, has not been fully implemented as yet.

© 2012 The Indian Express Limited. All rights reserved

Monday, April 23, 2012

News Article: Over 700 temples face demolition in Bhadrak

TNN Apr 22, 2012, 04.56AM IST

BHADRAK: The Bhadrak district administration has issued eviction notices to 723 religious structures for allegedly encroaching on government land. The move followed a Supreme Court directive on removal of places of worship on government land and relocation of such structures built alongside national and state highways.

Officials said a revenue department survey in 2010-11 had found that 714 temples, seven mosques and two churches had flouted the rules under the Odisha Prevention of Land Encroachment Act, 1972.

"Last week, the district administration had served eviction notices to the caretakers of these places of worship and also set a deadline for taking action. Before the government goes for a demolition drive, they have the provision for regularization of the structures through lease, particularly those mentioned in government records. They can also relocate the structures to nearby 'debastali' areas as per government norms," said Debendra Mohapatra, the additional district magistrate of Bhadrak.

The eviction notices have triggered a furor with the BJP district unit chief, Akhaya Sahoo, and the president of the Muslim Jamat of Bhadrak, Abdul Bari, submitting memorandum to the district collector. They said the district administration had not opposed the construction of all these places of worship. Several of them did not create traffic congestion on highways and their demolition would not go well in public, they added.

© 2012 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved

Friday, April 20, 2012

Lok Adalat orders the District Administration to prepare plans to conserve Waste Lands in Kolar District

(This a typed version of the orders attached at the end)


The Deputy Commissioner in absentia has submitted affidavit through Chief Executive Officer ZP Kolar. In his affidavit, he has stated that the land is acquired in Mulubagal for solid waste management and has reported about the construction of approach roads and internal roads for the lands meant for solid waste management. He has further stated that the primary and secondary collection and segregation work will be completed in all the ULB’s in 6 months time.

Heard the Deputy Commissioner and perused the material on record.

The Deputy Commissioner has submitted very sketchy Action Plan and the information furnished is very unsatisfactory and lacks mission and vision. The Deputy Commissioner and all other concerned officers have not taken seriously to examine the issues as indicated by the Adalat. The individual affidavits filed also did not explain the present status and also the action initiated to deal with various waste generated including bio-medical waste, slaughter waste and sewage are very sketchy. The Commissioner’s-in-charge of urban local bodies failed to indicate about the future plans and present status except indicating some ADHOC measures taken by them to deal with the wastes. But, they have not indicated regarding house to house segregation and separating the recyclable and generating the revenue to the Municipalities as well as converting wet waste into compost or by adopting bio-methenation technologies. The various other departments including the forest, minor irrigation, Animal husbandry also need to apply their mind to understand the problems and to dispose the waste as well as to protect the life supporting resources. Kolar District is suffering from acute shortage of drinking water and also degradation of common lands and forest lands. Quarrying and Mining as created dramatic impact. The mono-culture plantation both in common lands and forest lands has already made a severe impact on hydrology and also on agriculture and horticulture productivity because of loss of natural bio-diversity.

The entire district has lost huge natural landscape of tree groves (Gundu thopus) and natural forest. With the result, the district has lost its character of ecological balance. The district economy depends on Mango, Sericulture and Diary. These three major activities are directly connected to the ecological service offered by the local bio-diversity of birds and pollinators and temperature regulation is critical for productivity. The local natural vegetation also induces local precipitation which is vital for productivity of Mango and Sericulture. The district also lost large number of lakes, Kalyanis formed by ancestor and also Gokattas. Therefore, rejuvenation of lakes and restoration of natural forest is very essential to improve the economic activity by providing ecological security and services.

For the reasons started supra, following directions are issued for compliance by the Deputy Commissioner, Kolar.
  1. Though some attempts were made to segregate Solid Waste, Bio-Medical Waste and slaughter waste. But, it needs serious attempt to motivate the communities to segregate the waste at source and to generate income to the municipalities. They should resort to segregate various waste especially dry waste and wet waste. The wet waste can be converted into a resource to generate CNG gas and electricity. Attempts should be made to convert all waste into an income generation activities by disposing segregating dry waste to the consumers.
  2. The district had large number of Tanks, Kalyanis and Gokattas built by philanthropist’s. But today the status is in a pitiable condition and they depend on underground water which is depleting rapidly. It needs very comprehensive action plan to restore watershed and tanks and percolation ponds in the entire district.
  1. Intensive reforestation and tree planting in common lands is vital to restore the umbilical connections by providing ecological security which offers ecological services to improve the economic activity by enhancing Mango, Mulberry and Dairying.
  1. The FES (Foundation for Ecological Security of India) has signed an MOU with Karnataka Government to restore the common lands by involving the local communities. They have already made a good impact in restoring few thousands of acres of degraded lands. Similar activities were initiated in the State of Rajasthan where they get less than 200 millimeters of rainfall per annum. Whereas, Kolar district gets average rainfall of more than 500 to 600 millimeters.
Therefore, the scope to rejuvenate the degraded lands and status of underground water is very high when compare to Rajasthan. Therefore, the district needs a comprehensive integrated plan to restore the degraded lands by involving the communities. You are directed to involve FES and other self-help groups working in your district to adopt appropriate technologies to improve the Eco-hydrological status of the district.

The Forest department should be involved and directed to prepare a very comprehensive Eco-development plan on the lines of FES not only for common lands but also to forest lands and they should constitute village forest communities to manage and restore the degraded lands.

The Minor Irrigation department and Zilla Parishad should prepare an integrated plan to capture the torrential rains due to cyclonic depressions. The district experiences more the 10 to 12 heavy down pour rainfall which constitute to an extent of 30% of the annual rainfall. This water has to be captured by inter linking the percolation tanks and minor and major tanks.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

News Article: Demolition cloud over 63 religious structures

Express News Service

BHADRAK: The district administration has issued notices for demolition of at least 63 structures of worship built on government land.

This follows the Supreme Court directive asking state governments to ensure that no temple, mosque or any other place of worship was allowed on public space, street or property. The notices were sent to the head or caretakers of the spiritual institutions in Bhadrak town on Saturday.

Sources said two notices have been served in this regard. As per Orissa Prevention of land Encroachment Act, 1954, the tehsildar has issued show-cause notices to some seeking reply as to why action should not be taken against them for illegally encroaching public land, while the second notice to the defaulters requires them to remove the structures in the next 30 days. Of the 63, as many as 40 structures fall in Bhadrak RI circle.

However, people frequenting these places of worship have opposed the move and instead want the administration chalk out development plan without hampering these structures.

CNN name, logo and all associated elements ® and © 2012 Cable News Network LP, LLLP. A Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

News Article: Less than 10% of illegal structures removed, says Revenue Minister

Special Correspondent

Maximum encroachments in water course poramboke

The government has not made much headway in removing encroachments from its lands, according to the Revenue Department policy note tabled in the Assembly on Monday by Minister K.A. Sengottaiyan.

As per the official statistics, less than 10 per cent of the total extent of encroachment has been removed so far. Of the 1.84 lakh acres identified as areas under encroachment as on April 1, 2011, the government could retrieve only 18,233 acres as on February 29, 2012.

While there were 6.58 lakh instances of encroachment, only 72,318 encroachers had been evicted. The maximum encroachments (nearly three lakh) covering 58,820 acres were identified in water course poramboke. Of these, 13,333 encroachments had been removed and 4,605 acres retrieved.

The Minister said that the removal of encroachments on government lands was the prime duty of the Revenue Department and a government order in 1987 and a Madras High Court judgement in 2000 had set the department a mandate to identify illegal encroachments on water courses and restore their original position after eviction. As regards encroachments on poramboke and other lands vested with village panchayats and local bodies, as per the directions of the Supreme Court, the government had to formulate an action plan to find out and evict all such encroachments for the betterment of society, the Minister said. As of February this year, the government had notified 2.08 lakh acres as surplus and assigned 1.90 lakh acres to the landless poor. As many as 66,429 Scheduled Cast families had been given 71,277 acres, the Minister said in his reply to the demands for grants for the Revenue Department.

Exceeding the target, the government had issued 1.20 lakh pattas in the past six months and distributed 21,852 community certificates to Scheduled Tribes alone in the past eight months.

The previous (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) regime had diverted about Rs.22 crore meant for the poor and deserving beneficiaries under various schemes in parts of Dindigul, Salem and Madurai districts to about 11,000 of its party workers, Mr. Sengottaiyan alleged. He promised proper implementation of welfare schemes.

Keywords: Sengottaiyan, encroachment

Copyright © 2012, The Hindu

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

News Article: Rajasthan High Court seeks report on minister's interference in anti-encroachment drive

TNN | Apr 17, 2012, 05.51AM IST

JAIPUR: A division bench of Rajasthan High Court comprising Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Meena V Gomber has called for an explanation from the state authorities and the district collector, Kota on alleged illegal interference of UDH minister in the removal of encroachment from a public land.

The order came on a PIL filed by one Ram Kishan alleging that a vast public land in Devli Mattiyan village in Ladpura tehsil in Kota is used as a park for marriages etc. by public at large, but has many encroachments. When on a complaint the local authorities went to remove the encroachments, the UDH minister called up the tehsildar and threatened him to not to remove the encroachments.

"The tehsildar in writing asked the collector to guide as to what should be done and later on the enforcement unit returned without removing the encroachments due the influence of UDH minister Shanti Dhariwal," said the petitioner's counsel. Taking note of the situation, the division bench issued a notice to the revenue department as also the collector, Kota to explain at to why the encroachments were not removed.

Copyright © 2012 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved.

Monday, April 16, 2012

News Article: Efforts on to remove encroachment on common land - Javed

Himalayan Mail
Jammu, April 2

Minister of State for R&B, Javed Ahmad Dar on behalf of Rural Development, Minister today informed the House that the Government is making all out efforts to remove encroachment from the land reserved for grazing purposes.

Replying to a question by Syed Mohammad Rafiq Shah, the Minister said as sequel to this Government has recently formulated scheme for evection of encroachments from common lands.

Replying to another question by Jehangir Hussain Mir, the Minister said that there is no proposal under consideration for construction of circular road around Poonch town with the Government.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

News Article: Haryana asked to take up desilting of village ponds

PTI | 08:04 PM,Apr 12,2012

New Delhi, Apr 12 (PTI) Haryana should undertake desilting of village ponds to rejuvenate these water bodies, besides taking steps to ensure that encroachment of rural water bodies' land is identified and restored, according to experts. This was recommended by a User Interaction Workshop on Change Detection Study of Surface Water Bodies in Southern Haryana held here today, which was presided by Haryana's Financial Commissioner and Principal Secretary, Science and Technology Department P K Das. Das informed the workshop that the Change Detection Study of Surface Water Bodies in six districts of Southern Haryana - Mahendergarh, Rewari, Gurgaon, Mewat, Faridabad and Palwal was undertaken using space technology, which also revealed loss of 1193.52 hectares of area under water bodies since the formation of the state. In Gurgaon and Faridabad regions, many water bodies have become extinct because of urbanisation while in other regions water bodies are being used for village waste water storage which has made them highly polluted and sedimented, the study said. The workshop recommended that these traditional surface water bodies should be renovated and village waste water should be treated before putting it into these water bodies, besides suggesting separating waste water and usable water by partitioning of ponds. It was also felt that MNREGA scheme be used to revive these surface water bodies by desilting, putting water from artificial source and plantation. The workshop also suggested building of check dams in hilly areas and also develop the system of gully plugging. The workshop also felt that a detailed study about the Badkhal, Damdama and Sultanpur lakes should be done for water recharging of these lakes, so as to develop them as attractive tourist spots. It was attended by G J Samanthanam of Department of Science and Technology, R S Hooda, Chief Scientist of Haryana Space Applications Centre (HARSAC), KE Mothi Kumar and Anup Kumar, besides the officers of user departments like Forest, Panchayat, Rural Development, Agriculture, Horticulture, PWD, Fisheries, Irrigation and public health engineering.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

News Article: Another lake in Bangalore vanishes; official washes off his hands

Published: Monday, Apr 9, 2012, 11:02 IST
By Y Maheswara Reddy | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

Philanthropist Narasimha Shastri would be turning in his grave for donating the eponymous lake in Bhoganahalli for providing drinking water for cattle and sheep. The five-acre lake, which is barren now, has been encroached by builders for private construction. The dilapidating compound wall is the only sign that there used to a lake.

BV Satish, the then chief engineer (now transferred to solid waste management department) of lakes, BBMP, is not even aware that the lake has been encroached. “Is Narasimha Shastri lake encroached? I am not aware of it. It would be better if you contact the chief engineer concerned. I have been shifted to solid waste management division,’’ he said, washing off his hands without any qualms.

When asked how come Parameswar, who assumed office as chief engineer, lakes, a month ago could be aware of the encroachment that happened during his tenure, Satish said: “I never visited that area and have no clue about the encroachment of the lake.’’

The residents of Bhoganahalli say the nexus between land mafia and BBMP authorities resulted in the disappearance of the lake. “I used to take our cattle to the lake during my childhood. There were two lakes near Bhoganahalli. Now, only one exists as Narasimha Shastri Lake has been encroached by land mafia,’’ said Pilla Reddy, a Congress leader.

In fact, the BBMP had prepared a plan to develop the lake at an estimated cost of Rs1.92 crore—Rs20.18 lakh for fencing as well as Rs6.06 lakh for maintenance and Rs4.04 lakh for watch and ward per year—and even allocated ID No. 2087. “The BBMP has forgotten about the existence of the lake after preparing the action plan. It did nothing when Bangalore Prime Properties encroached the land,” a villager said.

The residents say the BBMP and the Lake Development Authority (LDA) have no interest in preserving lakes in and around Bangalore. They say land mafia is active not only at Bhoganahalli but also in surrounding places. “The need of the hour is to protect lakes from land mafia. They are the lifeline for ground water and ensure increase of groundwater table. I advise the BBMP to impose a cess on land developers and use the same for the development of lakes,’’ said BV Ramachandra Reddy, former MLA.

S Shivaprasad, CEO of LDA, has however assured to send subordinates to inspect the spot. “I will be in a position to comment only after receiving the report from the LDA engineer,’’ he said.

KN Venkatesh, engineer, Bangalore Prime Properties, has denied any encroachment. “We have the necessary documents, including conversion of the land,’’ he said.

©2012 Diligent Media Corporation Ltd.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

News Article: A persuasive prayer to save tanks

April 10, 2012

DEVELOPMENT: Karnataka has 36,000 tanks with the potential to irrigate an area as large as 6.85 lakh hectares. But these tanks struggle for survival due to massive encroachment, writes S S Mohan Kumar

Backyard ponds, tank bunds, auxiliary channels, tiny streams...there are people who claim the water sources are “their own” before swallowing them all. Fortunately, this is not always the case. In a unique example, the villagers of Shimoga district have come together to clear tank encroachments.

Three taluks of the district have as many as 70 tanks including Gang tank in Umblebailu, Doddakere in Devabalu, Kadammajjikere in Kanagalasara, Chikkakere in Muddinakoppa, Hosakere in Gejjenahalli and Talakattinakere in Madliya village. The farmers here have voluntarily given up a total of 82.03 acres (33.20 hectares) of encroached land to help protect the tanks.

That’s not all. After clearing the tanks of these encroachments, a metre-wide boundary was created around the tank, where the villagers planted trees.

These villagers intend to stay vigilant and prevent further encroachment from taking place in the tank area. While this seems like a baby step, in the larger perspective, since tanks cater to our daily needs and are imperative for our survival, it is a great leap forward.
Tanks are our lifelines. We need them for irrigation, animal husbandry, groundwater and other daily requirements. Karnataka has 36,000 tanks which are large enough to irrigate a vast area of 6.85 lakh hectares. But these tanks struggle for survival because of massive encroachment. Encroachment makes it difficult for water from the feeder canals to enter the tank.

Also, all the tanks are clogged with silt. The outlets and protection for tanks including the pipes, surrounding walls, canals, etc are in a dilapidated condition. In spite of many laws to protect tanks, the government is unable to check encroachment of tank areas. It was for this purpose that the Jala Samvardhane Yojana Sangha (JSYS) was formed. Several Tank Users’ Groups were formed under this umbrella to clear encroachments in their respective areas. The farmers also volunteered to give up encroached land to help protect their tanks. Favourably, the encroachers have also been made members of the Tank Users’ Groups; this helps them give up encroached land with little or no objection. They have also understood the importance of tanks.

Forward-thinking women

In Umblebailu village, 29 km from Shimoga, the Gang tank covers an area of 6.25 acres.It can provide enough water for 43.74 acres of the surrounding area. Two acres of the land had been encroached upon.

The village headmen did not pay much attention to the issue, but the progressive women of the village managed to persuade the encroachers to leave.

Before the tank could be revived, we had to get rid of the encroachment. It was only after we reclaimed tank property that the go-ahead was given to begin improving the tank,” said Shanta, president of the Umblebailu Tank Users’ Groups.

Shimoga’s Abbalagere village faced an unprecedented problem. Fouracres of their Mudhigowda tank had been encroached upon. While the villagers were able to stop the encroachment, the soil in the encroached area couldn’t contain any water. Finally, a win-win solution was reached when the villagers decided to put the land to good use by allowing it to be cultivated by the poorer families of the village. Half the revenue earned from that land is given to the Tank Users’ Group for tank development. “Instead of allowing the land to lie unused, it is better to use it in some manner,” says Mohan Gowda, president of the Tank Users’ Group, Abbalagere.

The Tank Users’ Group was set up so that encroachers could understand the problems caused by their action.

Any information regarding tanks (revenue survey files, topographical survey, tank photographs, etc) can be sought or discussed at this forum. Shimoga’s Yadavalu village was so eager to develop their tank, that on the same day that work began on the tanks, the villagers held a meeting on its progress. The workers were paid right after the meeting. Tank development has begun in right earnest in many villages where Tank Users’ Groups have been set up.

Tank group members have been spreading their message: “Do not stay silent if your tank is encroached upon. Work together and stop encroachment on tank areas. Remember, if there is a problem with the tank, there is a problem with your life.”

To get rid of poverty in rural areas, tanks must be protected as they are directly connected to rural livelihood. It is with this in mind that the World Bank set up the Jalasamvardhane scheme. Tank development work has begun in 17 districts.

Thanks to this project, even those who have migrated to cities, like potters, fisherman, basket makers, etc are returning to their villages.

What a transformation!

Throughout the village, there was not a drop of water to be had for man, animal or bird. The villagers were given a boon in the form of the Srimaradi Siddeshwara Tank Development Association, which was formed three summers back, bringing miracles in its wake.

Thanks to this Association, there’s no problem in Yadavala village. Years ago, three acres of the Haruvinakere had been encroached upon.

When the encroachers were asked to move, they had objected to it, but the villagers had remained unmoved.“When they reap the benefits, they will not be as opposed to it,” says Srimaradi Siddeshwara Lake Development Association President G M Halleshappa.

In the past, although we had discussed encroachments, we had turned a blind eye to it. We let the police and officials take care of tank development. It was only after the Tank Development Association came that we understood the importance of our lakes.”

Prakash Kugwe
(Translated by Maya Girish)

Copyright 2008, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

News Article: N R Pura Veerammaji lake crying for attention

Narasimharajapura, Mar 31, 2012, DHNS :

Serious concern is being expressed over dwindling number of lakes in the country. But those that remain are badly polluted.

The best example for this is historic Veerammaji lake, which is situated in the heart of Narasimharajapura town.

The Veerammaji lake popularly known as Irummajji kere was constructed during the reign of Keladi rulers by queen Chennammaji and Veerammaji.

The lake is spread across 13 acre land. It was known for water throughout the year. In fact, the Keladi rulers had built seven wells in N R Pura for drinking water purpose. Only few wells are in good condition now.

The documents say that Sugappa mutt was built by Guru Shanthappa. The town situated on the eastern side of the lake was called Veerammaji pete. Unfortunately, indiscriminate dumping of solid waste and discharge of sewage into the Veerammaji Lake continues unchecked, thus polluting the water body.

The lake remains neglected with garbage strewn in the water spread area and along the bund. People found it easy to pollute the waterbody as there was no fencing along the lake, says citizens.

It is said that the lake is filled with silt and the land has been encroached.

When the issue of pollution of the lake was brought to the notice of Town Panchayat member Sukumar, he said “we will issue warnings to those who dump waste into the lake. We have already filed a complaint with the police.

The budget has earmarked funds for cleaning the lake, constructing fence around the area and promoting boating in the region.”

Town Panchayat Chief Officer Shankarappa said “we have sought permission from the government to carry out survey of Veerammaji lake, Nadigara lake, and a lake situated behind the police station.”

Copyright 2008, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd.

Monday, April 9, 2012

News Article: Builders to babus, lawyers to netas, All bagged village common land

RAGHAV OHRI : Chandigarh, Sun Apr 01 2012, 01:33 hrs

Names of top builders, politicians, bureaucrats, immigration companies, lawyers and other high-ups figure in the list of beneficiaries who were sold village common land in Mohali. Large pieces of shamlat deh and jumla mushtarka malkan falling in as many as 31 villages in Mohali have been sold in contravention of rules.

Shockingly, contrary to the rules, ownership rights of the common land too have been transferred. This information was given to the Punjab and Haryana High Court by the Punjab government on Friday. Village common land in 23 villages in Dera Bassi and eight villages in Kharar have been sold off to the high-ups, reveals the list.

To top it all, co-sharers of village common land have sold off the land further to private builders. Newsline was the first to report on March 30 that as many as 858 sale deeds pertaining to shamlat deh and jumla mushtarka malkan in Mohali stand registered till now.

The information was furnished pursuant to High Court directions on a petition alleging sale of shamlat deh land with the active connivance of the revenue authorities. The High Court, on the last date of hearing in February, had held, “We are sanguine in our belief that a fraud has been perpetuated on the rights of the gram panchayat and the proprietary body by sale of jumla mushtarka malkan land, ownership whereof vests in proprietors and management and control vests in a gram panchayat. It is surprising and indeed shocking that the deputy commissioner and the tehsildar have allowed registration of sale deed of land in jumla mushtarka malkan. The deputy commissioner, SAS Nagar, Mohali has been sleeping over the matter.”

The High Court had then sought a list of the sale deeds executed in Mohali so far. The same was furnished in the High Court on Friday. It is pertinent to mention here that during the hearing of the petition, the Punjab government had admitted that ownership of jumla mushtarka malkan land lies with the village proprietary body.

Shares of individual land owners are not specified in the jamabandi because it does not vest in any individual landowner. For the same reason, individual land owners are not competent to sell any portion of the jumla mushtarka malkan land; correct or incorrect calculation of shares of khewatdars is of no significance,” the Punjab government submitted in its reply.

Sale deeds executed in favour of private respondents are null and void as no one can be allowed to sell land described as jumla mushtarka malkan, the HC had observed after perusing the reply of the Punjab government. The High Court had on Friday directed the Mohali deputy commissioner (DC), senior superintendent of police (SSP), and chief conservator of forests to come up with a plan to protect the village common land and land in the periphery of Mohali from illegal occupation.

Some villages where sales have been made
The villages in Dera Bassi where sales have been made are Bhabat, Bahori, Bair Majra, Janetpur, Devi Nagar, Dayalpura, Sundhran, Amlala, Haibatpur, Baroli, Chadiala, Gazipur, Bhagwasi, Chhatt, Khellan, Gujran, Stabgarh, Nagla, Rauni, Bahora, Bair Majra, Mubarikpur and Madhopur. The eight villages in Kharar where village common land has been sold in alleged connivance with revenue authorities are Mullanpur Garibdas, Parch, Nada, Lubhangarh, Chandpur, Bajeedpur, Khizrabad and Baliali.

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