Ramesh Susarla

18 newly appointed officers to sort out discrepancies

GUNTUR: Settlement of forest lands is round the corner with the appointment of 18 Forest Settlement Officers in Andhra Pradesh, which has been necessitated with 1.34 lakh hectares of forest land getting involved in some dispute, encroachment or waiting for notification as Reserve Forest.

Primary aim of the exercise being done now was to protect the forest land and notify it so that further encroachments and unauthorised deviations do not take place. Also, the State Government expects some land to get released that could be distributed among the rural poor for which Left parties had launched a major agitation.

In Guntur Forest Circle comprising Guntur, Prakasam and Nellore districts, there are two FSOs to look after the task and they had been given quasi-judicial status to ensure Government’s goal was reached. In the three districts out of 6.5 lakh hectares of notified Reserve Forest, areas to be notified measured 44,000 hectares.

Disputes

These FSOs would sort out discrepancies and ensure that Form 24 (protected forest) was issued and lands with such a status (1,555 hectares in the Guntur circle) were issued Form 4. Form 4 settles all the disputes regarding right of way, declaration under section 6 and others, said K. Nagababu, FSO for Guntur and Prakasam. While 12,084 hectares of such land is available in the circle, about 29,905 hectares of forest land is ready for issue of final notification under Form 15 and published in the State and District Gazettes.