Titles for podu lands proposed to be issued next month

A flood of applications being received from tribals hoping to get titles to the land they cultivate

November 19, 2022 09:49 pm | Updated November 20, 2022 08:00 am IST - Hyderabad

Women tribal farmers cultivating ‘podu lands’ in Bhadrachalam agency of Bhadradri Kothagudem district.

Women tribal farmers cultivating ‘podu lands’ in Bhadrachalam agency of Bhadradri Kothagudem district. | Photo Credit: RAO GN

With the State government firm on settling claims for titles to podu (shifting cultivation) lands next month and taking steps to stop encroachment of forest on a war footing in the new year, the authorities are flooded with new applications as it has raised new hopes among tribals of owning land.

The government had received 4.14 lakh claims in 2,845 gram panchayats when the applications were invited last year for issue of titles under Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006. But, the government had not fixed a cut off date for applications and, as a result, tribals are continuously submitting papers of claim to forest land recently noticing expeditious steps to distribute titles. The 4.14 lakh claims were made for 12.49 lakh acres of forest lands by tribal and non-tribal farmers. However, the Chief Minister had committed to issuing titles to 11.50 lakh acres.

The government had received the applications for three months last year and computerised them. Nearly 86 % of the claims were also completed. It was decided to complete the survey of claimed lands and distribute titles next month after holding village level meetings this month to gather details of extent of land tilled.. However, the committees involved in the meetings are confronted by scores of new claimants.

The survey of forest even triggered a clash between villagers of Kudikila and Narlapur in Nagarkurnool district. The two sides had claimed the forest for themselves frequently.

On the other hand, the Forest department has also taken up satellite mapping and other technical tools of fixing borders which has added to the problem of revenue authorities dispose of claims. The existence of greenery drive of Forest department in podu lands was another concern to be addressed. The forest officials argued that there was no way to give up lands were plants were grown under the Harithahaaram programme.

Tribal Welfare Minister Satyavathi Rathod recently distributed tabs to officials of Integrated Tribal Development Agencies to aid in completion of survey in a transparent manner.

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