Telangana CM announces action plan to settle Podu lands issue

Hyderabad, Oct 9 (IANS) Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Saturday directed the officials to launch an action plan from the third week of October to settle the Podu land (shifting agricultural land) issue in the state.

The decision comes in the wake of increasing incidents of disputes and even clashes between tribals and forest officials.

He made it clear that once the Podu land issue comes to a logical end, the officials should take all measures to ensure that even an inch of forest land is not encroached and there should be an end to the land grabbing in the forest areas.

The chief minister said the state government would not hesitate to take any stringent measure to protect the forests in the state. He 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.

KCR, as the chief minister is popularly known, instructed the officials to prepare guidelines to appoint the Forest Protection Committees in the state.

The Chief Minister 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. They will also get power and water supply and will also be extended benefits of Rythu Bandhu and Rythu Bhima schemes.

The chief minister on Saturday held a meeting with senior officials to review Podu land issue.

The Chief Minister has instructed Chief Secretary 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 advices 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 Chief Minister declared that the forestland survey would begin from November. He wanted forestland boundaries should be fixed with the coordinates. He instructed the officials to set up fencing or dig trenches for the proper protection of the forestlands.

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