The Telangana government is examining the idea of formation of armed forest protection teams and striking forces to prevent smuggling of teak and other timber from the forests of Adilabad, Warangal, Khammam and other districts.
Minister for Forests and Environment Jogu Ramanna stated here on Thursday that they would create awareness among people, particularly the youth, to protect forest wealth from poachers and smugglers. Stating that Forest Department had 42 per cent of posts vacant, the Minister said he would take up the matter with Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao as forest protection would not be possible without personnel.
The department officials were told to study what kind of forest protection laws were being implemented effectively in the neighbouring States like Maharashtra and Karnataka. Laws would be amended, if necessary, as the existing ones had no provisions of registered non-bailable cases against smugglers and poachers, the Minister said.
He stated that the government was also committed to ensure land to the poor who were given RoFR (Register of Forest Rights) pattas for cultivation. However, most of them were not given possession of lands allotted. A GPS survey taken up for identifying boundaries of forest lands and fixing boundary stones was stopped mid-way in the past, though year 2005 was fixed as cut-off date giving possession of lands.