Kothagudem: Forest officials in Kothagudem district feel somewhat reassured after a case was filed against Komaram Bhim zilla parishad vice-chairman Koneru Krishna and he was also suspended.
They have also lodged a complaint against TRS MLA for Kothagudem, Vanama Venkateswara Rao and his son Vanama Raghavender, who obstructed the work of forest officers two days ago.
Deputy range officer M.R.P. Rao lodged the complaint against the MLA and his son. A case crime number, 113/2019 under section IPC 143, 447, 427, 506, 353 rw and 149 and section 3 of prevention of damage of public property act, 1984, has been filed against the two for obstructing and threatening government employees. Also named in the complaint are Punem Srinu, Shaik Khanamoddin and Bhukya Limba, who are noted land grabbers. On June 29, Vanama Venkateswara Rao and his son Raghavender came to where the Budger hotel is being built as part of tourism development and forcibly stopped the work on the compound wall.
Forest officials kept silent about this incident and only reported it on Monday after which the complaint was lodged.
Sources in the forest department said that forest officials in Kothagudem district have been under pressure after Vanama Rao was elected MLA and his son is openly extending support to those who are said to have encroached on forest land and are resisting eviction.
The MLA has been calling on forest officials to stop whenever they begin evicting the encroachers from the forest lands.
Sources revealed that a public representative in Kothagudem district has 50 acres of forest land in his possession.
The MLA eyed more forest land and is trying to grab it with the help of his henchman.
Forest officers have submitted a report on this to their superiors, saying that in Komaram Bhim district 1,000 acres of forest land is in the possession of TRS legislators and their relatives. The forest department wants the state government to give them more teeth to deal with forest land encroachers.
The report says MLAs are using Scheduled Tribes, particularly Lambadas, to grab forest land. MLAs are leasing out the forest land to small farmers who cultivate cotton. The income the MLAs derive from these transactions is upwards of `10 crore per year.