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Kannapur forests under large-scale encroachment by non-tribals

Resuming the land could turn out to be a headache for the Forest Department

Kannapur village, or the three habitations which form Kannapur located in Sirikonda mandal of this district, is an example of all that occurred illegally in the forests since a long time in the erstwhile united Adilabad district.

While the rights of Adivasis from the two Kannapur Gond habitations over the 300 acres they are tilling since 1962 have been recognised under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, some 350 acres is being tilled by the non-tribal Mathura community farmers which could become a headache for the Forest Department whenever it tries to resume the land.

Kannapur is classified as an agency village and the governing laws do not permit non-tribals to obtain any kind of rights on property or lands in such places. But Kannapur is not the only village where non-tribals have illegally cleared forests to cultivate the lands in Adilabad.

“There are about 30 such villages in the district involving a few thousand of acres of land which has been encroached upon. A majority of these villages are Mathura tandas,” revealed Adilabad District Forest Officer B. Prabhakar as he spoke to The Hindu while inspecting forest lands held by Mathuras in the forest close to the Kannepalli Mathura tanda.

“There are 67 Mathura community families in the village cultivating 350 acres of forest land. This settlement came into being post-1975,” the DFO added, referring to the documents and the survey report.

There are instances where the Revenue Department has given pattas on forest land to tribals in the past.

The Forest Department is attempting to get such pattas cancelled as it was given illegally, Mr. Prabhakar asserted. He, however, disclosed that the issue would be discussed with appropriate authorities at district and State-level before any action is initiated.

“As of now, we are only ensuring that no further illegal felling takes place inside the reserve forests,” he affirmed.

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