Hyderabad: The Telangana government today announced several measures for the welfare of Goud community in the state, who traditionally depend on toddy-tapping. The measures, announced by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao in the Legislative Assembly, include increased social security pension, waiver of 'tree tax' and construction of a building for the benefit of the community.

"The pension being given to toddy tappers has been raised from Rs 200 to Rs 1,000," Rao said in a statement. So far only members of Toddy Tappers Co-operative societies were getting pension, he said. The government has taken a decision to extend the pension to TFT ('Tree for Tappers') members from now on. The move would benefit about 30,000 families of Goud community, he said.

The officials concerned have been instructed to complete the process of converting TFT into TCS (Tappers Cooperative Society) in 10 days on receipt of such applications, Rao said. The licence renewal (for tapping) period has been increased from the present five years to ten years.

Plantation of palm and date palm trees on the bunds of tanks, rivulets and rivers would be taken up in a big way in the coming days in coordination between the excise and forest departments, he said. "All Tree Tax arrears are waived off. Also the Tree Tax which is being paid by the tappers on the basis of trees, is totally waived. Even though this is going to cost Rs 16 crore burden per year to the government, keeping the welfare of the Goud community this step is taken," Rao said.

"The state government would allot five acres of land and also sanction Rs five crore for construction of 'Goud Bhavan' which will showcase the glory of the Goud Community," he added. (PTI)