As usual, “Forest Martyrs Day” was observed on Monday (September 11) to pay homage to all the brave Forest rangers who have laid down their lives in protecting Forest Wealth and Wildlife in the State.
Speaking on the occasion, Forest Minister Jogu Ramanna said, “Today we are observing Forest Martyrs Day in memory of Forest Officers and Staff, who laid down their lives while discharging their duties for the cause of protection of Forests and Wild life. Since 1984 in Telangana State, 22 officers of various cadres died while protecting forests and wildlife in the State. During 2016-17, Forest staff has booked 7,173 OR cases worth of Rs 2.94 crore of Timber and collected Compounding Fee of Rs 10.92 crore apart from seizing 1495 vehicles. In addition, 2,522 UDOR cases have been registered worth of Rs 6.87 crore of timber and transported to the Government Timber Depots.
The minister said the State government issued a notification for direct recruitment of 1857 Forest Beat Officers, 90 Forest Section Officers and 67 Forest Range Officers posts to fill the vacancies in the Department. Various initiatives have been taken for protection of Forest Wealth in the State with the active participation of the people.
He said 144 Base camps with 5 local tribal/non-tribal watchers in each camp have been established in interior vulnerable forest areas to prevent illicit felling of trees, smuggling and encroachment. Besides, 61 Strike Forces have been constituted for patrolling in vulnerable areas and 55 Forest Check posts were established and maintained for curbing smuggling activity. Apart from communication charges are provided to grass root level staff (ABO/FBO/FSO), 2,142 vehicles have been provided to the Officer and front line staff for mobility and protection of forests.
The provisions of PD Act are applied on notorious and habitual Teak wood smugglers. The Government of Telangana is implementing Telangana Ku Haritha Haram as one of its flagship programme and the only of its kind in the country in order to achieve the National goal of 33% of Geographical area under tree cover in the state. This year Government has already allocated a plan budget of (140 ) Crores to the Department to achieve the objective. As part of various afforestation programmes under Telangana Ku Haritha Haram, an area of 3509 hectares of block plantation and 600 kilometers of Avenue has been taken up during this year and so far about 29.00 Crores seedlings have been planted with the participation of people.
“On this occasion, we pledge to re-dedicate ourselves to the cause of Forest Protection and development of green cover of the State. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families. I salute all those Martyrs who laid their lives to make a better future for the coming generations”, the minister added. (NSS)