Pressure is mounting on TRS government to start issuing pattas for podu lands, since elections are fast approaching. (DC file photo)
ADILABAD: Forest department is planning to raise plantations on forest and government lands as part of the 8th Haritha Haram even though it has not resolved the podu lands issue. As a result, there are fears that podu lands may turn into battlefields once state government’s Haritha Haram officially starts in the coming days this year.
Pressure is mounting on TRS government to start issuing pattas for podu lands, since elections are fast approaching. However, distributing them is not easy as large numbers of lands are in dispute between revenue and forest departments of the state government. At many places, while cultivators say they are tilling revenue lands, forest officials claim rights on the same land.
According to official sources, the target of Haritha Haram this year is to plant 44.38 lakh trees in the Adilabad district. 44.74 lakh plants are being raised in various nurseries of government departments for the purpose. Thousands of people have applied for podu rights on lands they have been cultivating for a long time. This was after state government conducted a survey at village level and received applications from the cultivators of podu lands last December.
Forest department is preparing to plant trees on government lands as also forest lands as part of Haritha Haram. The planting will start during the rainy season. Both foresters and podu land cultivators claim rights on podu lands. In view of the coming elections, all political parties are supporting podu cultivators.
The state government is thus being buffeted by demands of political leaders as well as rights of forest department. Already, podu cultivation issue at Koya Poshaguda has created an embarrassing situation for the state government and ruling TRS. No ruling party leader or MLA supported forest officials in Koya Poshaguda incident in which forest officials registered cases against 12 Adivasis women for cultivating forest lands and sent them to jail. Congress took the lead in highlighting this issue.
A few days ago, Utnoor forest officials again took some Adivasi farmers into custody for cultivating paddy in forests under Ghanpur gram panchayat. Both Congress and BJP are highlighting this issue, putting the state government on the back foot. However, the ruling party will have to contend with more such issues once Haritha Haram starts.