Hyderabad: Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Saturday urged the forest department officials to work towards transforming the state into 'Green Telangana'.
Rao, who held a meeting with forest officials at the forest academy on the outskirts of the city, told them to make efforts to increase forest cover in the state to 33 per cent from the present 25 per cent.
He said the forest department would be strengthened by filling up vacancies and providing vehicles, police security and higher wages to the department, a release from his office said.
In the meeting, the forest department officials explained that they are facing troubles from smugglers, land grabbers and others, the release said.
Rao decided to be tough with encroachments and timber smugglers. New legislations would be brought if necessary, it said.
Assuring that the government would provide support of armed policemen to forest personnel in view of the threats from smugglers and land grabbers, he said a system of two dozen armed police coming to the help of forest personnel in an hour would be set up.
"The government would set up fast track courts for timely resolution of forest related cases," Rao said.
He also said that the forest department would be provided with a special fund through a forest development cess.
The Chief Minister suggested that the district collectors and forest officials should conduct a joint survey for fixing boundaries for forest lands.
He said the 1,50,000 acres of forest land in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) limits should be protected and greenery needs be enhanced.
An amount of Rs 25 crore would be provided from the GHMC for the purpose, Rao said.