The Forest Department has clarified that the permission accorded to De Beers India Limited for exploration of gold, diamonds and other precious stones does not cover the sanctuary area and reconnaissance survey permitted on 15,000 hectares was outside the sanctuary area in Mahabubnagar district. No survey operations can be taken up over the forest area without prior permission from the Central government, the department said. Responding to a report published in these columns, the department said it had not made any attempts last year to shift Chenchus from Nallamala forest to plains. In fact, they were issued title deeds over forest lands in their possession under the provisions of the Recognition of Forest Rights Act.
Some vested interests are spreading rumours and creating confusion among the innocent tribes, a clarification issued by the Special Secretary (Forests) said.
The officials said there is no fear among tribals over possible dislocation of Chenchus and the State has not contemplated dislocation of the tribes from Nagarjunasagar – Srisailam sanctuary as on date. Around 200 youth had been engaged in protection and preservation of tiger in the sanctuary with a remuneration of Rs. 4,000 a month.