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Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao on Saturday instructed Collectors, Forest and Police department officials to identify and take stringent action against those destroying forests while extending help to innocent tribals who depend on the jungle for their livelihood.

An official release said the CM has asked Collectors to convene an all-party meeting in the districts on solving 'Podu land' issues besides protection of forest lands.

Podu is traditional system of cultivation used by tribals.

The CM instructed that there should be unanimous opinion from all-party leaders on providing ROFR (Recognition of Forest Rights) to those already engaged in podu cultivation.

He suggested that village sarpanches and other public representatives be encouraged to take up protection of forestland as a duty, the release said.

The CM also suggested that all those tribals involved in podu cultivation within forests should be provided with an alternative government land nearby for cultivation and in case of no government land available, they should be provided with a land on the outer periphery of the forestland, it said.

The CM has asked officials to stop extension of the 'Rythu Bandhu', 'Rythu Bhima' schemes and free power schemes to farmers indulging in ganja cultivation and they should be arrested.
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