September 12, 2021

TELANGANA: Podu Farmers to Hold Rasta Roko for Land Rights

Kambhampati Sarma

AN all- party convention on podu farmers (tribal farmers) has called for a ‘rasta roko’ on October 5 demanding implementation of Forest Rights Act, Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA Act) and rights for podu tribal farmers. The convention was held by the Podu Farmers Agitation Committee at Sundarayya Vignana Kendram in Hyderabad on September 13. It was chaired by Kodandaram.

Members of Left parties, Congress, Telangana Janasamithi, Telugu Desam and various tribal mass organisations attended this convention and demanded that all girijan farmers cultivating forest lands should be given documents giving them the rights for cultivation under Forest Rights Act. The convention demanded the government to stop the destruction of croplands, atrocities on girijans and foisting false cases in the name of Haritha Haram. It warned that eviction from forest lands will not be tolerated. It declared that the conspiracy of handing over the forest wealth and minerals to corporates will be resisted. They have agreed to submit memorandums to the Telangana governor, MPs and MLAs on the problems faced by tribal farmers.

The committee also decided to hold conventions at the district level. The speakers said that a change is only possible when adivasis, tribals, and non-tribals, women and children move in a big way challenging the TRS government in the state.

CPI(M) state secretary, T Veerabhadram questioned the state government as to why permissions were given to corporates to survey for minerals and other resources. He said that unless all sections of forest dwellers unite and fight, it is not possible to change the attitude of the government.  He gave a call to protect lands, forests and the adivasis.

CPI assistant secretary K Sambasiva Rao demanded that the chief minister should solve the problems of podu farmers. He expressed concern over the Supreme Court asking to evict the tribals from forests which goes against the constitutional provisions.

Congress MLA Seethakka said that only a united struggle can bring rights to the tribals. She said that only tillers should get forest land like the saying ‘land to the tillers’. She said forest officials are harassing the adivasis and that this struggle should give confidence to them. 
TJS chairman, Kodandaram exhorted everyone to make the ‘rasta roko’ a success and demanded the government to implement the PESA Act and Forest Rights Act.
TDP Polit Bureau member Ravula Chandra Sekhararao said that the constitution has given rights to tribals on forest land. CPI(M) ex-MLA Julakanti Ranga Reddy said that the constitution is being amended to give forest resources to corporates.
About 12.70 lakh acres of forest is being cultivated in the state and even if the land is in the reserved forests, the documents must be given to tillers as per the Act, said Midiyam Baburao ex-chairman of Adivasi Adhikar Rashtriya Manch.
CPI(ML) New democracy leaders Potu Rangarao, Sadineni Venkateswara Rao, ex MLA, Gummadi Narasaiah and tribal union leaders Sriram Naik, B Ravikumar and other leaders also participated.