Look ma, they stole the forest!

Withreal estate booming in Telangana capital and open plots becoming a scarce resource, land sharks are eyeing forest blocks around the city.

Published: 07th October 2018 09:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th October 2018 09:09 AM   |  A+A-

Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo)

HYDERABAD: Withreal estate booming in Telangana capital and open plots becoming a scarce resource, land sharks are eyeing forest blocks around the city. They are approaching courts claiming a portion of the forest land is their ancestral property, handed over to them generations ago during the rule of Nizam. Such activities are done by groups of people, who file writ petitions claiming large chunks of forest land.

Last month alone, the Hyderabad High Court dismissed 29 writ petitions filed by around 1,500 people who had claimed that 2,400 acres of the 3,605 acres of forest land in Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Park belonged to them. There are many forest patches in the suburbs of Hyderabad — in Ranga Reddy and Medchal districts like Shamshabad, Kothaguda, Gurramguda and Mrugavani National Park apart from Kandlakoya, Keesara, Narapally and Nagaram.

These are important lung spaces for the city that is being choked with growth, population and pollution. These, however, are the prime targets for these encroachers. From Ranga Reddy district alone, there are around 34 cases filed in the High Court by various people claiming lands in the reserved forests are their private property. Apart from this, there are other cases filed in district courts as well.

With respect to the Kandlakoya reserve forest, there are 4-5 court cases in which the petitioners claim as much as 74 acres of the forest land to be their own. “Soon after the High Court dismissed the false cases filed for land in Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Park, 117 more people filed similar cases again,” says District Forest Officer (DFO) of Ranga Reddy Bheema Naik.

“Concerned officials are taking these cases very seriously and are fighting legal battles with all records and documents.”

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