Hyderabad: As many as 8,972 cases related to various forest offences, including 668 cases relating to illegal occupation and encroachment of forest land, were registered in Telangana during 2018-19, said Forests and Environment Minister A Indrakaran Reddy.
“Several Forest Department officials have lost their lives in the line of duty, while working to prevent crimes over the years,” the Minister said paying tributes at the ‘Forest Martyrs’ Day’ meeting at the Nehru Zoological Park here on Wednesday.
Indrakaran Reddy said 21 Forest Department personnel lost their lives while engaged in forest protection activities. To remember and pay respects to their services that the ‘Forest Martyr’s Day’ was observed, he said. The Minister called on the department personnel to draw inspiration from such sacrifices and work with dedication to protect the forests.
He said Telangana State Government had taken several measures for strengthening forest protection including filling up of vacancies at the field level, providing vehicles for staff for effective patrolling, as well as digging 9,100km long trenches to prevent cattle and other grazing animals from entering forests. Development of grasslands and providing water holes in the forest has resulted reduction of wild animals entering human habitations.
With respect to the cases, the Minister said Rs 13,72 crore was collected as fines, in addition to seizure of timber worth Rs 5.30 crore and 1,935 vehicles. As part of Telanganaku Haritha Haram programme, so far 174 crore saplings had been planted across the State including in degraded forest areas and the Government had set itself a target of planting 100 crore saplings annually from next year, he said.
PCCF R Sobha said forests in Telangana were “under extreme external pressures and the Department personnel are working under trying conditions to protect the forest wealth of the State.”
She said: “We pledge to rededicate ourselves to the cause of forest protection and development of green cover of the State. I salute all those martyrs who have laid down their lives to ensure a better future for the coming generations.”