Karimnagar: IT minister K.T. Rama Rao said 8,000 acres of forest land in Rajanna-Sircilla district had been encroached upon and was under “podu” cultivation. The government will try and resolve this issue in 67 villages of the district by conducting meetings from November 8, he stated after a review meeting with officials.
Rama Rao said Rajanna Sircilla district has 4,72,329 acres of land of which 96,394 acres are forests. However, villagers surrounding these forests have encroached around 8,000 acres of forest land and are cultivating them as podu lands.
The minister reiterated that the government was not entertaining any second thoughts on podu lands. After examining applications by farmers for regularisation of these lands, the government will try and resolve the issue to the extent possible. At the same time, steps will also be taken like formation of forest protection committees to ensure that forests are no more encroached upon, he maintained.
With regard to 70 acres of forest land between Chikodu and Chippalapally villages of Mustabad mandal being encroached by one Durga Reddy, Rama Rao assured that a survey will be carried out and necessary action taken.
Speaking on the occasion, Vemulawada MLA Chennamneni Ramesh Babu underlined that the issue of podu lands has remained unresolved for past several decades. At present, forest cover in the district is only around 20 percent. It has to increase by more than 10 percent, he underlined.
Earlier, the IT minister had inaugurated the Karimnagar District Cooperative Central Bank (KDCCB) in Sircilla town. Those who participated in the two meetings include KDCCB chairman Konduru Ravinder Rao, MLA Rasamayee Balakishan, collector Anurag Jayanthi, SP B.K. Rahul Hedge, ZP chairperson N. Aruna, additional collector B. Satya Prasad, district forest officer Balamani, in-charge revenue officer T. Srinivas and ZP CEO Gautham Reddy.