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Mahabubabad Collector V P Gautham gives ultimatum to land sharks

Mahabubabad Collector V P Gautham gives ultimatum to land sharks
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Land sharks beware. The writing is on the wall for those who encroached upon large tracts of forest land as the Mahabubabad district administration has decided to crack whip on them if they fail to vacate those land voluntarily.

Mahabubabad: Land sharks beware. The writing is on the wall for those who encroached upon large tracts of forest land as the Mahabubabad district administration has decided to crack whip on them if they fail to vacate those land voluntarily.

The grabbers who hitherto had managed to hang on to the land they encroached upon despite the warnings from the Forest department will now have to face the music with District Collector V P Gautham, 2014 Batch IAS, who recently took charge of the district, is hellbent on restoring the green cover in the region.

According to officials, land encroachments have been unabated in the district since 2010. It's learnt that nearly 3,500 acres forest land in Mahabubabad district is in the hands of some private persons.

The authorities identified that 119 persons, including 10 government officials, have encroached upon forest land. Some of them had encroached more than 50 acres each.

Even though the forest officials had issued notices to them, they continue to be in possession of encroached land. The Collector, who noticed the malady, reviewed the situation with Additional Collector M Venkateshwarlu, Superintendent of Police N Koti Reddy and DFO Kista Goud recently.

After which, the Collector has decided to crack the whip on those in illegal possession. "Those who occupied forest land need to return the land to Forest department voluntarily within a week. Or else get ready to face criminal cases," Gautham warned the land grabbers.

He said that officials who encroached upon government land will have to face departmental action as well. "The onus is on everyone to protect the forest land and natural habitats.

The administration will not sit idle while the forest land is being encroached upon," Gautham told The Hans India. According to reports, encroachments are rampant in Gudur, Gangaram, Kothaguda and Bayyaram mandals.

There are instances of encroachers threatening the forest officials in the past when the latter tried to take possession of its land back, it's learnt.

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