CM chaired a high-level meeting on solving the issues of Podu Lands

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Chief Minister Sri K. Chandrashekar Rao has instructed the officials to revive and develop forestlands as thick forests while solving the Podu Land issues and protecting the forestlands. The CM also instructed the Collectors, Forest and Police departments officials to identify and take stringent action against those destroying the forests while extending help to the innocent tribals who depend on forests for their livelihood. The CM made it clear that the District Collectors who are working as desired while implementing the government’s development and welfare schemes, should play a key role in protecting the forestlands. He suggested that for protecting the forestlands, along with the department officials concerned, Gram Sarpanches and other public representatives should be made partners.

Under the chairmanship of CM Sri KCR, a high-level meeting was held at Pragathi Bhavan here on Saturday on solving the issues of the Podu Lands, protection of forests-revival, Haritha Haram. In which District Collectors, Police and Panchayat Raj Department higher officials participated. In this meeting, Ministers Sri A Indrakaran Reddy, Sri E Dayakar Rao, Sri Vemula Prashanth Reddy, Ms. Satyavathi Rathod, Government’s Chief Advisor Sri Rajiv Sharma, Chief Secretary Sri Somesh Kumar, DGP Sri Mahender Reddy, CM Principal Secretary Sri S Narsing Rao, Secretaries Ms. Smita Sabharwal, Ms. Priyanka Verghese, Sri Bhoopal Reddy, Forest Department Special Chief Secretary Ms. Shanti Kumari, PCCF Ms. Shobha, Panchayat Raj Principal Secretary Sandeep Kumar Sultania, Tribal Welfare Secretary Christina Chongtu and others participated.

Forestlands should be protected
The CM asked what is the use of society making development in all the sectors while the human being is not in a position to live? The CM said we would be doing a lot of benefit to the future generations if we protect the forests. The CM instructed the officials to prepare a comprehensive action plan to protect the thick forests, identify the forestlands and revive them to be thick forests, free the forest land from encroachments, take stringent action against those who willfully destroy the forests.

Innocent tribals protect forests
The CM reiterated that innocent tribals have always protected the forests like their own lives. It is those coming from outside who destroy the forests. The tribal children from the forests belonging to Gond, Koya, and Kolam communities would never harm the forest. The CM instructed that measures should be taken to curb those coming from the outside in destroying the forests. If need be, the CM instructed that PD Act should be invoked. He said it is important to identify those protecting the forest and those destroying it. He suggested that all those tribals involved in the Podu cultivation within the forest should be provided with an alternative government land nearby for cultivation. If there is no government land available, they should be provided with land on the outer periphery of the forestland. They should be provided with free water, power and residential homes. He said forestland boundaries should be fixed and protection trench should be formed and on the trench Nicker Nuts (Gacchakayi) plant should be grown. For the formation of the trench along with the forest funds, Employment Guarantee Scheme funds should be utilised.

10 acres of forest equal to lakhs of trees
One may plant crores of trees under the social forestry programme and it can never be equivalent to the forest. A 10-acre forest is equivalent to lakhs of trees. The CM said like in Gajwel, in other districts too forest revival programme should be implemented with special focus. In the district where there is no forest, in the plain and vacant forestlands, forests should be developed. The CM congratulated the officials for developing Village natural Forests under the Palle Pragathi programme.

Convene all-party meetings in districts
The CM has instructed the district Collectors to convene an all-party meeting in the districts on solving Podu land issues, protection of forestlands. The CM instructed that there should be a unanimous opinion from the all-party leaders on providing ROFR rights to those already doing the Podu Cultivation and later ensuring that not even an inch of forestland encroaches. CM said MPs, ZP Chairmen, MPPs, MLAs, ZPTCs, MPPs and other public representatives should participate in the meeting. He suggested that Sarpanches in the villages and other Public Representatives should be encouraged to take the protection of forestland as a duty.

Accept Podu Claims from Nov 8
The CM instructed that from Nov 8 to Dec 8, Claims should be accepted from tribals doing the Podu cultivation and others. Before Nov 8, a preparatory meeting should be held, and village committees should be formed as per ROFR Act. One Nodal officer should be appointed for two to three villages, RDO at the Sub Division level and Collector at the district level should monitor the process.

The CM said 87 percent of encroachment of Podu lands was there in 12 districts such as Bhadradri-Kothagudem, Komaram Bhim Asifabad, Adilabad, Jayashankar Bhoopalpally, Kamareddy, Khammam, Nirmal, Warangal, Nalgonda and Nizamabad.

Stop all facilities for those in Ganja cultivation
The CM has instructed the officials to stop the extension of Rythu Bandhu, Rythu Bhima, free power to farmers indulging in Ganja cultivation; they should be arrested and sent to jail. For those cultivating Ganja in ROFR lands, patta should be canceled and other stringent measures should be taken against them. He wanted illicit liquor making should be curbed and those involved in it should be given alternative employment and rehabilitation.