Notices Issued To Etela's Jamuna Hatcheries Under WALTA Act
The Telangana forest department has issued notices to Jamuna Hatcheries, which is also a part of the probe of former minister Etela Rajender's alleged land dispute case. As part of their survey, a total of 237 trees (canopy size) were found to have been chopped during the construction of the road towards the hatcheries structure. To this end, notices were sent from the Medak District Ramayampet Range Officer's Office seeking explanation within three days as to why a case should not be registered under the Water, Land and Trees (WALTA) Act.
According to the WALTA Act, to cut a tree one has to obtain permission from a competent authority, in this case, the Forest Department. When the tree is felled, two should be planted in its place and the maintenance cost has to be borne by those who cut the tree,as per its rules.
It was alleged that Jumuna Hatcheries had encroached upon assigned lands in the villages of Hakimpet and Achampet and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao directed Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar to get a detailed report from the Collector on the allegations.
Medak Collector A. Harish, in his report submitted to the State government on May 2. “It is observed that 66.01 acres of assigned land in survey numbers 97 of Hakimpet village and survey numbers 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82 and 130 of Achampet village as shown in annexure enclosed has been illegally occupied and the same Jamuna Hatcheries Limited has constructed certain sheds and buildings and also roads were laid for the same purpose.
District Forest Officer, Medak, has submitted that a katcha road was formed and many trees were felled without any permission. Hence, detailed enumeration of trees felled will be taken immediately and legal action will be taken against the responsible persons as per Forest Conservation Act – 1980.” After the survey was conducted notices were served to the management of the Jamuna Hatcheries.
In a much needed respite for the former Health Minister, the Telangana High Court recently chastised Medak district collector and other officials for conducting a hurried survey and inspection on the lands of Jamuna Hatcheries, which belong to former minister Etela Rajender's family members, without notifying them. According to the court, the operation was in direct violation of the Constitution's Articles 14, 19, 21, and 300-A, as well as Section 153 of the Telangana State Land Revenue Act.