KCR finalises action plan to resolve podu lands issue

He directed officials not to permit tribals to undertake agriculture on podu lands that are located in the middle of the forest.

Hyderabad: Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao on Saturday finalised an action plan for the resolution of the contentious ‘podu land’ issue during a review meeting with senior officials at Pragathi Bhavan.

He directed officials not to permit tribals to undertake agriculture on podu lands that are located in the middle of the forest. Instead, officials should convince them to move to land bordering the forests, and give them farming rights over those land pieces.

The government will also provide power supply and water facilities to undertake agriculture, besides extending Rythu Bandhu and Rythu Bima to them, the CM said.

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Once farming rights are given to tribals, not a single inch of forest land should be allowed to be encroached by anyone, the Chief Minister ordered. He directed them to deal with forest land encroachers with an iron hand after podu lands issue was resolved. Officials should ensure that “none is inside the forest,” the CM said.

The Chief Minister said if forest land encroachment was allowed for any reason, including podu farming, there would be no forest left in the future.

He asked the officials to seek applications from all tribals on their claims on podu lands from the third week of October, scrutinise applications, undertake field visits to examine whether agriculture activity was being taken up or not, and issue farming rights to genuine applicants. He said MLAs of respective constituencies would accept applications and submit to state government for approval.Chandrashekar Rao said the state government would undertake a comprehensive survey of forest land from November to determine the boundaries of forests by giving geographical coordinates and take measures like fencing. He said the government was ready to extend even police protection to save forest lands from encroachments.

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