CM announces action plan to settle the Podu Lands issue

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Chief Minister Sri K. Chandrashekar Rao has instructed the officials concerned to launch an action plan from October third week to settle the Podu (Shifting agriculture) Lands issue in the state. The CM made it clear that once the Podu land issue comes to a logical end, the officials should take all protective measures so that even an inch of forest land is not encroached and there should be an end to the land grabbing in the forest areas. He said the state government would not hesitate to take any stringent measures to protect the forests in the state, the CM said. The CM said if need be, an all-party meeting would be convened as part of finding a solution to the Podu lands issue and he would demonstrate and practically show with evidence to the leaders on how forestland is being encroached upon. He has instructed the officials to prepare guidelines to appoint the Forest Protection Committees in the State. The CM said the Podu cultivation which is taking place in the middle of the forest would be shifted to the edge of the forest areas and land would be allotted. Those who are shifted will be given certificates, power supply facility, water and Rythu Bandhu; Rythu Bhima would be extended to them.

Under the chairmanship of CM Sri KCR a high-level review meeting took place at Pragathi Bhavan here on Saturday on Podu land issues. In this meeting, Asifabad MLA Sri Athram Sakku, Government’s Chief Advisor Sri Rajiv Sharma, Chief Secretary Sri Somesh Kumar, CM principal secretary Sri S Narsing Rao, CM secretaries Ms. Smita Sabharwal, Sri Bhoopal Reddy, Special Chief Secretary Ms. Shanti Kumari, CM OSD Ms. Priyanka Varghese, PCCF Ms. Shobha, RM Dobrial, Swargam Srinivas, Hyderabad Circle CCF Akbar, CCF, Forest Academy Director Raja Rao, TSTS MD Venkateswara Rao, Tribal Welfare Secretary, Commissioner Christina Chongtu, Nalgonda District Collector Prashanth Jeevan Patil and others participated.

Speaking on the occasion, the CM said,” Protection of forests is very important for the existence of mankind. If we neglect, the future generations will not have even a single tree. For preservation, protection of forests and improve greenery, the measures are taken by the Telangana government are yielding good results. Biodiversity has also increased considerably. With the good results we received through the Telangana Haritha Haram programme, we became an ideal to others in the country. There is a tremendous response to the Haritha Fund. The forest department officials should concentrate more on protecting the forests and efficient officers should be appointed. The government will stand by the officers. As per the assurance given by the government in the Legislative Assembly, start an action plan to solve the Podu land-related issues from October third week,” the CM instructed the officials.

“Children of the forest will have love towards forests. Their living culture is intermingled with the forests. They treat the forests as dear as their own lives. They will not cause any harm to the forests. They utilise forests to collect forest produce like Honey, firewood, and natural adhesive. The government will protect their livelihood and birthright. The problem is all about those who come from outside, encroach the forestlands, destroy the forest wealth and misuse the resources. We will not allow such elements to plunder the forest wealth and destruct the forests. Once the Podu land issue settled, the next minute the government would launch stringent measures to protect the forestlands. It is the responsibility of the forest officials to prevent any illegal intrusions in the forest areas. None is inside and inside is only a forest. No one except the forest should be there,” the CM clarified.

The CM has instructed CS Somesh Kumar to start taking applications on Podu Lands from October third week, based on the information given in the applications field-level survey should be done and ascertain facts about the land details. He said meetings should be held with all the district collectors and required orders should be issued.  He said suggestions and advice given by the MLAs should be taken. He wanted forest department officials in coordination with the Tribal Welfare department to play a key role in the protection of forestlands.

The CM declared that the forestland survey would begin in November. He wanted forestland boundaries should be fixed with the coordinates. The CM instructed the officials to set up fencing or dig trenches for the proper protection of the forestlands. He said the government would release the required budget for the measures. If need be, the CM said police protection would be given. The CM finally made it clear that everyone’s effort should be to ensure that the forestlands are protected and they should not be encroached upon illegally.