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Forest department destroying forests, alleges NGO

Forest department destroying forests, alleges NGO
Highlights

However, the NGO Chenchulokam has taken it as a serious threat to the forests and observed that the forest department authorities are taking decisions unmindful of conservation of forest areas

Mahbubnagar: With the Forest department taking up various development works in the name of developing eco-tourism parks, Harita vanam parks and promoting eco-tourism by allowing people to venture into forest areas, Chenchulokam, an NGO working for the welfare of indigenous tribes has accused the forest department of destroying large scale trees and clearing forest lands for commercial purposes in Nallamalla region.

Not just in Nallamalla, the Telangana state has also cleared large scale forest cover in Mahbubnagar, Wanaparthy and in Nagarkurnool district and spending hundreds of crores of rupees for the development of eco-tourism.

However, the NGO Chenchulokam has taken it as a serious threat to the forests and observed that the forest department authorities are taking decisions unmindful of conservation of forest areas.

“In fact, the Forest department official are bestowed with the responsibility of protecting forest land and promote forest by developing newer areas with green cover; however, what we are seeing in Telangana is totally contrary to this. Instead of developing forests, the forest authorities themselves are destroying the forest areas in the name of developing eco-tourism parks,” accused Dr. Ramakrishna, president of Chenchulokam NGO.

Echoing the same views T Guruvaiah, Secretary of Chenchulokam, observed that the Forest department apart from conserving the forests should also cater to protect the lives of forest dwellers like Chechus, Yerukulas and others who are living there for generations.

They have failed in providing basic amenities to the Chenchus. The Chenchus are suffering from various hardships as they do not have proper drinking water, nor healthcare facilities and education.

The Forest department should focus on these issues and also work to improve the forest cover and save the lives of forest dwellers by not allowing others into the forest. “Developing eco-tourism is nothing but cutting-off trees and allowing the urban population into the forest areas. Increased human presence in forest will disturb the animals and the entire eco-system,” observed Guruvaiah.

The representatives of NGO said that the concept of formation of new State of Telangana should have been in favour of the downtrodden and the poorest of the poor. However, what we are observing today is each and every person particularly the farmers, the Chenchus and the downtrodden have been deprived of basic amenities.

The benefits meant for the pregnant woman are not being extended to the Chenchu women dwelling in the forest regions. The forest officials instead of focusing on destroying forest must work to provide better livelihood to chenchus and involve them in developing forest and provide employment and basic amenities, observed the NGO representatives.

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