The mushrooming of resorts and homestays in parts of Sakleshpur has left behind a trail of destruction of forests which were given statutory protection as far back as 1920.
On February 5, 1920, the Princely State of Mysore issued a gazette notification notifying 7,938 acres and 38 guntas as Murkannugudda ‘state forest’.
Forest officials who looked into the rapid change of land use in the area found that the revenue department at the district level has been doling out forest land to private parties.
In a letter to assistant commissioner of Sakleshpur last month, deputy conservator of forests, forest mobile squad, Hassan, N Ravindra Kumar has highlighted serious violations.
“The revenue department has illegally mutated more than 1,511 acres to private parties. The sanction, bifurcation of lands, creation of new survey numbers are in clear violation of Section 2 of the Forest Conservation Act,” the letter stated.
Officials of the division, who started tracking the development of the land, found that more than 25 resorts and homestays have come up in the notified forest land.
The Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Company (Cesc) has erected pillars without taking clearance under Forest Conservation Act to supply electricity to the illegal establishments.
An official in Cesc said notice has been issued to the resorts and homestays.
“After the forest officials told us to disconnect the electricity supply in view of the harm to wildlife, we came to know about the violations. We have issued notice to 15 establishments. We found that three resorts are functioning without getting any power from us and have intimated the same to the forest department,” the official said.
To a question on the erection of poles in the forests without permission, the official said they were not aware of the status of the land.
A forest officer told DH that most of the illegalities have been taking place for more than a decade.
“We have discovered the violations now because we started studying the issue in detail,” he said.