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Naxal problem: Government plans to buy land

By Our Staff Reporter

BANGALORE, OCT. 28. In what could be considered one of the first steps to meet the demand of the naxalites in Chikmagalur district and surrounding areas, the Government has submitted a proposal to the Centre for releasing Rs. 60 crores to buy private land and distribute it among those who want to come out of the revenue enclaves in the Kudremukh National Park area.

Disclosing this to presspersons here on Thursday, the Additional Chief Secretary and Development Commissioner, Chiranjeev Singh, said the Centre would extend financial support for shifting those residing in the park area. Nearly 200 persons residing there had applied for land outside the park area expressing their desire to shift from the forests. He said 105 persons in the revenue enclaves within the park would be given "pattas" and those living in such enclaves would not be evicted.

Court order

Asked whether it would not go against the Supreme Court order, which had asked the Government to evict all encroachers, Mr. Chiranjeev Singh said the order would not apply to the revenue enclaves. They were under the Revenue Department and not under the Forest Department. The "pattas" would be given on a condition that they should not be used for commercial purpose and the land could be developed through a cooperative society, if the people concerned wanted it, he added.

He said while some people in the district argued that there was no need for a national park, a majority section was of the opinion that it was required to maintain biodiversity for the benefit of future generations.

Meeting

He said a meeting of senior officials from the Forest and the Revenue departments had been convened on Saturday to discuss the issues that were raised during the discussions with the naxalite groups in Chikmagalur. The discussion this time would focus on the issue of land, he added.

He said the Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh, had asked him to concentrate on developing the area and also hold discussions to achieve that objective.

Mr. Chiranjeev Singh said even the Chief Minister had said that naxalism was a social problem and the Government wanted to solve it through negotiations, and police action was the last resort.

The committee would continue to hold discussions with the naxalites in Chikmagalur district and the study was not yet complete.

The question of using police force to end the problem was not on the agenda of his committee, he added.

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