Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao directed the officials to cancel Rythu Bandhu, Rythu Bima, free power, and other government benefits to those who cultivate ganja. He also instructed the officials not to leave those who cultivate Ganga in RoFR (Recognition of Forest Rights) lands and their rights on lands should be cancelled.
KCR also wants to put an end to the "Podu Land" issue. On Saturday, he directed the officials to conduct preparatory meetings at all levels till November 8th and claims should be received from tribals and others who are undertaking agriculture on podu lands starting from November 8th and this process will continue till December 8.
KCR instructed the officials to set up village committees as per the RoFR (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2008. Nodal officers should be appointed for every two or three villages and the revenue divisional officers (RDOs) and district collectors should monitor the process at the sub-division and district level respectively. After the officials receive claims from the tribals, they should visit the fields and inspections should be carried out before granting the RoFR rights.
KCR held a high-level meeting resolving podu lands issue, conservation of forests, and Haritha Haram at Pragathi Bhavan on Saturday. The meeting was attended by ministers, district collectors, and top officials of police, forest, tribal, and panchayat raj departments.
KCR stated that the rights on podu lands should be granted to tribals and those who are currently in possession of podu lands and engaged in agriculture. He stated that after RoFR rights are issued to the tribals, not even an inch of forest land should be encroached. He also added that the government is responsible for conserving the forests and at the same time the rights of tribals should also be safeguarded.
KCR stated that a total of 89 percent of podu lands encroachment was reported from only 12 districts - Asifabad, Bhupalapally, Mulugu, Nirmal, Warangal, Bhadradri Kothagudem, Mahabubabad, Adilabad, Kamareddy, Khammam, Nalgonda, and Nizamabad.
He asserted that all the tribals involved in podu agriculture in the forest should be given alternate government land nearby for cultivation. If the government land is not available in the selected areas then they should be given land on the outskirts of the forest land. They should be supplied with free water, electricity, and housing.