A handful of earth

Published: Monday 15 January 1996

THE struggle for existence may finally be over for the tribals and poor landless families in Karnataka who depend on forest land for their livelihood. The state government will soon regularise unauthorised cultivation of about 16,949.25 ha of forest land encroached by these families before July 21, 1978 when the Forest Act came into force. The regularisation of such land has to be approved by the state legislature and Parliament. About 21,000 families, most of them tribals, scattered in 19 of the 20 districts in Karnataka, stand to gain by the regularisation. These families have been cultivating the forest land without a title for a long time before the Forest Act was enforced.

Under the new scheme, each family would be entitled to the regularisation of 1.2 ha. Meanwhile, steps would be taken by the government to prevent any fresh unauthorised cultivation on forest land.

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