Telangana

Comprehensive survey of forest lands begins

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Aimed at resolving disputes between Revenue and Forest departments

The State government has embarked upon a comprehensive survey of the forest lands across the State as part of efforts to resolve the disputes between the Revenue and Forest departments over the extent of lands under their respective purviews.

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao is understood to have directed the officials to complete the survey before the end of the financial year. The officials have been asked to explore options for introduction of reforms like uniform nomenclature of the forest lands rather than different names in use in the current context so that there is no scope for disputes between the two departments in the future.

There are an estimated 62 lakh acres of forest lands of which records pertaining to over 40 lakh acres are clear. There is another large chunk of 22 lakh acres forest lands, 85 % of which is located in Bhupalpalli, K.B. Asifabad, Adilabad, Mahbubabad and Nagarkurnool districts, for which records had to be reconciled with those available with the Revenue department.

Special teams

Officials said special survey teams of the Revenue and Forest departments would be deployed for taking up the survey and they would be asked to complete the process in a time-bound manner.

In addition to the existing surveyors, the government is also imparting training to staff with experience on survey techniques and this batch of surveyors are expected to be available from next month.

The survey teams would comprise newly trained surveyors as well as the experienced ones and the government had decided to elicit the services of retired forest department officials wherever necessary for taking up the process. The teams would be asked to evolve mechanisms like daily reporting system detailing the extent of the land surveyed.

In addition to identifying the lands under the jurisdiction of the respective departments, the teams would assess the extent of lands under Podu cultivation and give new survey numbers to forest lands wherever survey numbers were not given to them in the past in the Revenue records.

The process would also entail inclusion of forest land into records wherever they are not included, officials explained.

Joint collectors

The Revenue department had designated the joint collectors concerned as the forest settlement officers and they would complete enquiries of cases where land had been notified under Section 4 of the Forest Act, but not notified under Section 15 of the same Act.

The Chief Minister, according to officials, was very particular that effort should be made to ensure that Forest lands comprised at least 33 % of the total lands across the State.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 10:56:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/comprehensive-survey-of-forest-lands-begins/article25854134.ece

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