7.65 Lakh acres of Telangana forest encroached

Govt tells NGT in an interim report that 11.48% of Telangana’s forest area ‘taken over’ illegally.
Image used for representation
Image used for representation

HYDERABAD: Lakhs of acres of forest land in Telangana, worth hundreds of crores, have been encroached, the state government says.

According to an interim report submitted by the state government to the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which is hearing a case on encroachment of forests in the country, approximately 7.65 lakh acres of forest land in Telangana have been encroached.

As per the interim report, the total geographical area of the state is 2.77 crore acres. Of this, the area covered by forests is 66.54 lakh acres. Out of this, 7.65 lakh acres of forest land have been encroached, the report said. The encroached forest area is 11.48% of the total area, it added.

It may be mentioned here that the state government informed the NGT that it is taking steps to curb encroachments in forest areas. The state government also informed the NGT that apart from regular patrolling by forest beat officers, regular inspections are being carried out to stop felling of trees and check encroachments. Also, the forest department has set up 174 base camps and 64 checkposts, the NGT was informed.

In addition, there are nine flying squad parties at the regional level as well as two vigilance parties and one anti-poaching squad at the state level exclusively for forest protection, the government said.

It also brought to the notice of the NGT that it has established a crime control cell and a toll-free number at the state headquarters for registering calls pertaining to forest offence cases, poaching activities, smuggling of forest produce, encroachment and complaints against the staff.

Meanwhile, activists say that despite putting in so much effort, it seems that the state government is unable to protect forest land.

Telangana’s promise to NGT

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests has been asked to prepare a detailed evidence-based encroachment identif-ication and transparent reporting system

The matter of encroachments would be taken up in the District Forest Protection Committee meetings for suitable action

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