Claims over ‘podu’ lands to be accepted for a month from Nov. 8

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao at a meeting in Hyderabad on Saturday.  

The State government has decided to accept applications in a month’s window from November 8 to December 8 from the tribal communities and others cultivating the forest lands to examine and settle the claims of those cultivating the forest lands.

The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on ‘podu’ (forest) lands here on Saturday. He directed the authorities concerned to hold preparatory meetings by November 8 and form ‘grama’ (village) committees under the Recognition of Forest Rights (RoFR) Act.

It was decided to appoint a nodal officer for every two-three villages and the Revenue Divisional Officers (RDOs) at sub-division level and District Collectors at district level to supervise the exercise. The Chief Minister stated that encroachment of 87% of forest (podu) lands was found in 12 districts such as Bhadradri-Kothagudem, Kumram Bheem-Asifabad, Mahabubabad, Mulugu, Adilabad, Jayashankar-Bhupalapally, Kamareddy, Khammam, Nirmal, Warangal, Nalgonda and Nizamabad.

The Chief Minister directed the District Collectors to convene all-party meetings in the presence of MLAs, MPs, Zilla Parishad chairpersons, Mandal Parishad presidents and ZPTC members in all districts for protection of forest lands and to resolve issues over ‘podu’ lands. He suggested that sarpanches and other elected representatives be encouraged to take the protection of forest lands as a responsibility.

He also wanted the Collectors to provide rights under RoFR to all those who are cultivating podu lands already and bring a consensus in the all-party meetings that not even an inch of forest land would be allowed to be encroached henceforth. The Chief Minister directed the Collectors to adopt the strategy of protecting forest lands while resolving the issue of podu lands to help the tribal communities depending on forest and act tough against those indulging in degrading forests.

Meanwhile, the State government has decided to stop benefits such as Rythu Bandhu, Rythu Bima and 24×7 free power to farmers who are found to be cultivating the contraband ‘ganja’ (cannabis) in their lands. The ‘pattas’ (titles of rights) given under the Recognition of Forest Rights (RoFR) Act too would be revoked in case it is raised in the forest lands.

Apart from stopping the benefits and cancelling the rights given under RoFR, action would also be initiated against the farmers indulging in the illegal activity under appropriate acts. The Chief Minister also wanted the authorities to stop completely making ‘gudumba’ (illicit brew) and rehabilitate those indulging in it.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 1:33:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/claims-over-podu-lands-to-be-accepted-for-a-month-from-nov-8/article37144991.ece

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