Hyderabad: With the growing number of assaults on forest officers, a cluster of NGOs have come under a single umbrella with a list of demands in connection with protection for work force.
Local district forest staff are abused, harassed and bullied on a regular basis by local politicians and the district administration. When police assistance is required, they seldom respond and when they do, it is inadequate and passive, said the NGO representatives. The NGOs demand :
1. Proper police support to forest officials in sensitive areas dealing on issues such as encroachments.
2. Training in crowd control and forest staff to be equipped with weapons for self-defence and crowd control gear (safety helmets, vest, etc)
3. Joint survey by the revenue and forest departments on priority to identify revenue lands, forest rights lands and reserve forest area using technology and satellite imagery
4. More clarity on the issue of podu lands being given to local villagers. State government cannot give away any lands (post 2005) to tribal inhabitants as it is inconsistent with the act
5. Stringent action should be taken against revenue officers wrongly assigning forest lands to local people for cultivation due to political pressure.
6. A grievance redressal mechanism to help forest officers facing issues with local politicians and district administration in a quick and appropriate manner....