ANDHRA PRADESH

Collector allays tribals’ fears

Special Correspondent

Accord priority to relocation of habitations, officials told



Tribals who shift will be provided all amenities

They can continue to gather minor forest produce



ONGOLE: District Collector K. Devanand has asked forest officials to give top priority for relocation of tribal habitations. He has assured the tribals that they will be provided with all facilities in the new colonies and their right on forest produce will be protected.

Addressing the district forestry committee meeting held here on Wednesday, he said that tribals were deprived of basic amenities like education and health because they lived in inaccessible habitations. They were also denied facilities like roads and power due to forest regulation acts. If they were shifted, they could have all facilities in the new colonies while steps could be taken to conserve forests. It would also help the police fight against extremists.

Accessibility

Mr. Devanand wanted the forest officials to take the tribals into confidence and persuade them to shift to villages with greater accessibility. Wherever tribals agree to shift, officials should construct housing colonies with all amenities like drinking water, roads, drains and power. Officials should acquire land, build houses, provide all amenities by December so that they could be shifted without a hitch. It should motivate other habitations also to shift.

The Collector wanted the forest officials to create awareness among the tribals that they could enter the forest and gather minor forest products without any hindrance even after they shifted their habitations.

Mr. Devanand expressed unhappiness that the Social Forestry Department was supplying traditional varieties of plants. He wanted them to supply only high yielding varieties. But, the forest officials said that farmers were reluctant to take new varieties.

Indian Tobacco Company (ITC) officials, however, said that they were able to sell 10 lakh clones of eucalyptus and five lakh clones of subabul to farmers in the district every year with buy back arrangement.

But, the forest officials said that some of the clones were affected by pests. To this, ITC officials said that some specific clones were affected by pests that spread from Australia last year. They stopped producing such varieties and supplying farmers only resistant varieties.

Red sanders seized

District Forest Officer said that they intercepted eight lorries carrying red sanders illegally in the last three months and seized the produce worth Rs. 40 lakhs. Smugglers used to transport red sanders from Kadapa to Chennai directly before. But they changed their route via Giddalur, making it necessary to intensify vigil, he said.



Tribals who shift will be provided all amenities

They can continue to gather minor forest produce





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