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, May 8, 2012

Staff Reporter, The Hindu

Demolition drive against illegal structures in reserve forest

Helpless:Forest personnel torching huts that came up in the reserve forest land near Vagoddugudem village in Khammam district. (Right) Displaced tribal families taking shelter under the trees on Monday.— PHOTOs: G.N. RAO

Helpless:Forest personnel torching huts that came up in the land near Vagoddugudem village in Khammam district. (Right) Displaced tribal families taking shelter under the trees on .— PHOTOs: G.N. RAO

A strong posse of forest personnel allegedly raided a temporary tribal habitation and set ablaze ten huts of impoverished Adivasis near Vagoddugudem village in Aswaraopeta mandal on Monday.

According to sources, a team comprising 30 forest personnel headed by Dammapeta forest range officer U. Koteswara Rao allegedly demolished the huts of the Adivasis at the latter’s temporary habitation near Vagoddugudem in the afternoon. The forest personnel allegedly torched about ten huts as part of the demolition drive.

The inmates of the huts, mostly the labourers enrolled under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, were away from the habitation at the time of the raid. An old woman, who was present in one of the huts at that time, made repeated attempts to dissuade the forest personnel from demolishing the huts, but in vain, sources added.

Meanwhile, CPI (M) division secretary Pullaiah condemned the raid. Speaking to The  , he said it is inhuman to torch the huts of the impoverished Adivasis. The personal belongings of some of the Adivasis were gutted in the incident, he alleged and deplored that the hapless Adivasis were rendered shelterless following the demolition drive. The displaced Adivasis should be rehabilitated and paid compensation, he said.

Cases pending

When contacted, forest range officer Koteshwara Rao said only a few huts were demolished as part of a drive to evict the dwellers from Lankalapalli reserve forest area. We have carried out the demolition drive only after removing the personal belongings of the dwellers, he said adding that several cases were pending against the dwellers of “illegal structures” erected in the reserve forest area.

 


 

  • Inmates of the huts, mostly labourers enrolled under MGNREGS, were away at the time of raid
  • The displaced Adivasis should be rehabilitated and paid compensation, says CPI (M) leader

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