HYDERABAD: To resolve Podu land issues in the State, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao announced that those farmers who are willing to give up their land within the forest will be given land at the edges of the forest with electricity, water and insurance as well.
The decision was taken after several violent clashes took place between cultivators within the forest land and Forest Department officials. In one such case, a lady forest official was manhandled and petrol was thrown on them.
The Chief Minister, in a high-level meeting announced that the government would not allow forest land to be further encroached at any cost. He directed officials to prepare necessary policies for appointing forest conservation committees to check on such encroachment.
“Nobody should reside inside the forests. Conservation of forests is crucial for human survival and our efforts to keep up the greenery will yield results in future,” Rao said. The entire exercise of identification of Podu lands in forests and allotment of new land will start from the third week of October.
Post the completion of the process, any cultivated land found within forests will not be allowed to remain there.Rao further stated that those who care about the forests would make a living using forest produce such as beeswax, glue etc, but those who occupy lands and cut them for cultivation are actually abusing the forests.
Furthermore, as per the new policy, all Collectors, officials from Tribal Welfare Department and forest officials will hold meetings and complete the process of handing over land to the eligible persons at the earliest.
After the lands are handed over, Rao directed authorities to take strict protective measures such as digging trenches and putting fencing as required. He assured support from the State government with a sufficient budget and police protection.