HYDERABAD : Activists and people’s representatives across the political spectrum, on Saturday, claimed that the State government was not sincere about resolving the long-pending podu lands dispute by issuing Recognition of Forest Rights (ROFR) pattas to the tribals.
During an all-party meeting convened by Bhuparirakshana Samithi at Somajiguda Press Club, K Ravinchander, president of Telangana Praja Front (TPF), stated that the Supreme Court’s judgment in 2019 to evict forest-dwellers, who had not received ROFR pattas under the Forest Rights Act of 2016, was contested by the Centre and several State governments, including Bihar, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and others, but not Telangana.
A stay was granted by the Supreme Court, which had ruled in favour of the tribals, irrespective of whether they possessed a patta or not. Though the Centre refrained from filing a petition in view of elections, he wondered what prevented Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao from responding like the other States.
Mulugu MLA Seethakka, who also participated in the meeting, alleged that forest officials were seizing tractors used for cultivation and preventing the tribals from digging borewells, even if they were undertaken under tribal welfare schemes. She said that though the tribals had been in possession of their lands for decades, revenue records were still showing long-gone landlords as the rightful owners. Seethakka expressed concern over the “resurrection of feudalism” in Telangana.
Supreme Court Advocate P Niroop referred to a departmental report submitted to the then government of Hyderabad State, which prompted the Nizam to issue a gazette notification on February 12, 1942, declaring 1 lakh acres of forest lands in the Nallamala forests as a ‘Chenchu Reserve.’ He sought to know what the stand of the State government would be, if claims were now made for issuance of ROFR pattas based on that gazette.
Cong vows to protect podu lands
Hyderabad: The Congress party on Saturday decided to fight for the rights of the tribals and formed a committee represented by community members to protect podu lands in the State. The TPCC’s political affairs committee also discussed a plan of action for Huzurabad byelection, focusing on issues pertaining to SCs and STs