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Move to buy back forestland opposed

By Our Special Correspondent

SHIMOGA, JAN. 18. Farmers held a demonstration here on Tuesday to protest against the proposed move to "buy back" forestland cultivated by them in Shimoga, Hosnagar and Tirthahalli taluks and urge the Government to declare the Shettihalli Wildlife Sanctuary as social forest.

Farmers took out a procession from the McGann Hospital to the Deputy Commissioner's office as part of their demonstration under the aegis of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha.

They expressed apprehension that those already displaced when Sharavathy, Varahi, Chakra and Savehaklu power projects were taken up, could be displaced again if the "buy back" was allowed.

The protesters alleged that the Forest Department officials allowed destruction of forest in the Shettihalli Wildlife Sanctuary by introducing monoculture.

Instead of pursuing the "buy back" scheme, the department should allow basic facilities to people already living in the sanctuary area.

H.R. Basavarajappa, State general secretary of the sangha, led the protest.

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