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Row over mining in forest land in Madikeri

By Our Staff Correspondent

MADIKERI, DEC. 3. There was a tense situation at the Pattighat reserve forests, near Bhagamandala in Madikeri taluk of Kodagu, on Friday when a group of miners of semi-precious stones entered the forests under police protection.

According to sources in the Forest Department here, a recent High Court ruling had said the land in the Pattighat reserve forests, where mining was to be taken up, should be surveyed by the Land Records Department and the Forest Department to ascertain its ownership. If the land did not belong to the Forest Department, it should not object to mining. However, the survey had determined that the land was in a reserve forest area, according to the sources.

Therefore, the Forest Department recently asked the group of miners from Mysore, which reportedly enjoys political patronage, not to venture into the area for mining. But the group allegedly ignored the order and entered the reserve forests with police protection, it is learnt. Sensing trouble, a 15-member Forest Department team reached the spot where mining was to begin, towards evening, and threatened to arrest the miners. It was alleged that the police did not allow the foresters to arrest the miners.

The Superintendent of Police, Devajyoti Ray, told The Hindu that the police were not aware of the orders of the Forest Department or the ruling of the High Court. The police team had gone there only to prevent untoward incidents and give protection to the miners on their request.

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