PUNE: More than 15,000 farmers' families in Pune district's Indapur, Baramatiand Daund talukas have been deprived of land ownership rights.

Their mutation extracts mention the title of " reserved forestland" when they were given the land as a rehabilitation measure.These farmers are unable to sell or lease out this land or even add a basic pipeline to the land which is rightfully theirs without permission.

These tracts were part of the land in the possession of the revenue department from 1902 given by the forest department for maintenance.

However, before the Forest Conservation Act 1980, came into place nearly 10,000 hectares were distributed to the farmers for various rehabilitation projects.

The state government had to denotify these lands and clear the title. However, this process was delayed and for 37 years and the farmers are making the rounds of the forest and revenue department to get a clear title for their land records.While the forest department is in the process of taking back reserved forest land of nearly 35,000 hectares, they have got back 21,000 hectares from the revenue department. The 10,000 hectares of these land are distributed and nearly 5,000 hectares have encroachments, forest officials said.

Deputy conservator of forests, Pune region Satyajit Gujar said there are 10,000 hectares that were distributed to the farmers for rehabilitation when the forest land was with the revenue department.

"We do not need the land back. So it is up to the revenue department to denotify this area so that the farmers can use it to full purpose," Gujar said.

Another officer said they have been receiving proposals as the farmers can neither construct a house nor lay a pipeline on this land as the land title mentions "reserved forest land." These proposals have to be sent to the state government for denotification and the process is long and tardy, state forest officals added.

"We have approached the revenue officials to denotify these lands. However, this being a lengthy process we are not able to lay a pipeline through our lands for which we have taken a loan of nearly Rs 10 lakh. We are stuck without permissions and the pipeline is essential in summer,'' a member from the farmers' group said.

Forest officials added that the state government should forward their proposals as it has been a four- decade wait. Revenue officials said they will address the issue at the earliest.


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