BJP leader Bandaru Dattatreya (File Photo)
BJP leader Bandaru Dattatreya (File Photo)

Bandaru Dattatreya writes to CM KCR, demands regularisation of podu areas

ANI | Updated: Jul 03, 2019 22:27 IST

Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], July 3 (ANI): Former Union Minister and BJP leader Bandaru Dattatreya on Wednesday wrote a letter to Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao demanding regularisation of podu (traditional system of cultivation used by tribes) areas and awarding of occupancy rights to the tribals, who are dependent on podu cultivation in forests for centuries.
"After promulgation of "Forest Conservation Act 1980" several amendments have been carried out towards regularisation of forest settlements and podu areas and a cut off date has been decided as 2005. Though an attempt has been made to issue forest rights in favour of a large number of tribals and other communities, the whole issue still needs to be attempted in letter and spirit. That's why problems have cropped up between podu cultivators and forest officials," the BJP leader said in a letter to the Chief Minister.
"Clear cut guidelines or orders are not given to the Forest Department. On the other hand, from 20 to 30 years podu cultivators who are continuously cultivating feel they have been denied justice. Let the issue not be seen as a Law and Order problem with a piecemeal approach," he added.
The BJP leader highlighted that in the districts of Khammam, Adilabad and some other districts of Telangana, several tribes who are dependent on podu cultivation are yet to be issued with passbooks.
"I have received several representations from Yellandu, Garla Mandal and other district tribes about the recognition of their podu lands," he claimed.
Former Union Minister reminded the Chief Minister that during elections, he had visited these areas and assured that podu lands issue will be resolved at the earliest.
"After deriving electoral benefits and assuming charge as Chief Minister for the second term, you have not initiated any policy decision so far," he said.
Stressing that about 18 lakh acres of land need to be verified, the BJP leader said, "I demand that the government should verify these 18 lakh acres on war footing and identify the disputed lands and take appropriate steps to resolve the issue."
He also claimed that some landlords and political leaders have occupied hundreds of acres of forest lands taking advantage of the innocence and illiteracy of the tribals.
In his letter, he requested the state government to take immediate steps for -- Scientific Survey and Demarcation of Revenue and Forest lands in the state of Telangana, regularisation of podu areas and awarding of occupancy rights to the tribals, who are dependent on podu cultivation in forests for centuries, protection of Forest Personnel who enforce the Forest Act by providing suitable security for their safety, and early enactment of a "Comprehensive Forest Act" duly settling the claims and rights of podu cultivators and forest dwellers. (ANI)