Mahabubabad: In a shocking revelation, it was found that a sarpanch’s family had encroached upon nearly 100 acres of forest land at Bathulapalli village of Kothaguda mandal in the district.
Sources said that sarpanch Esam Kanthamma and her five sons encroached upon the land and have been cultivating it for a long time. Interestingly, her husband Esam Swamy, works as a government employee (warden with a tribal welfare residential school). After learning of this illegal occupation of government land, District Collector VP Gautham inspected the land on Thursday and took the sarpanch to task.
Speaking to ‘Telangana Today’ over phone, Gautham said he has asked the family to vacate the land within a week so as to develop ‘Palle Pragathi Vanam’ and ‘Yadadri model natural forest’ on the same land.
“We will issue notice under Panchayat Raj Act to the sarpanch to reclaim the land, and also issue a memo to her husband, who is a government employee, for illegally occupying the land,” he said, adding that a criminal case would also be initiated against the sarpanch’s family, if they do not hand over the land.
Meanwhile, the Collector said they had reclaimed nearly 400 acres of forest land at Pedda Yellapur village in Gangaram mandal from land grabbers. “While 100 acres of the land would be given to the Telangana State Forest Development Corporation Ltd (TSFDC), some land will be given to the Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL),” he added.
It may be recalled here that soon after assuming charge as Mahabubabad collector, Gautham directed the forest officials to reclaim illegally occupied lands by issuing notices to the occupants.
According to sources, nearly 3,500 acres of forest land was illegally encroached upon by about 119 land grabbers including 10 government employees. The forest lands are mainly in Gudur, Gangaram, Kothaguda and Bayyaram mandals in the district. Though the forest officials in the past asked the illegal occupants to vacate the lands, it had fallen on deaf ears since they allegedly enjoy the support of local politicians.
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