HYDERABAD: Pained over losing a colleague and attacks on others going unabated, Telangana forest service officers have decided to take a tough stand and demanded that the state government take immediate steps, including providing arms to frontline staff to prevent further attacks.
The forest staff will also send a strong message to their political bosses reminding them of the promise to evict the gutti koya tribals from Telangana. Members of the tribe, who have migrated from Chhattisgarh, were involved in the killing of forest range officer Ch. Srinivasa Rao in Bhadradri Kothagudem district on Tuesday.
Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao had on several occasions assured to evict Gothikoyas but did not honour the promise.
M. Raja Ramana Reddy, general secretary of State Forest Service Officers Association, told Deccan Chronicle that a delegation would submit their charter of demands to the principal chief conservator of forest R.M. Dobriyal on Thursday.
Significantly, the association will press for clear instructions from the state government on how to deal with illegal podu cultivation.
“We also appeal to all parties to stop politicising the issue as it aggravates the problem,” he said adding that the association would also demand enhancing compensation from the current Rs.50 lakh to the kin of the slain officer.
Meanwhile, the forest officials across the State continued their protests and boycotted the ongoing survey of podu lands and gram sabhas. They will resume it only if they are provided adequate security besides providing them arms for self-defence.
At a memorial meet organised in the district forest office in Jagtial district, DFO A. Venkateshwarlu said the brutal killing of Rao had demoralised the staff who are living in constant fear.
Dharmapuri forest range officer Srinath said the forest staff was targeted for discharging duties. It is the minimum responsibility of the state government to protect and secure them, he said
Gandhari forest range officer Ravi Mohan Bhatt said that forest officials across the state decided not to go for field visit for survey of podu lands.
In erstwhile Adilabad district, the forest staff boycotted gram sabhas. The teams comprising forest and revenue staff conducted a survey of podu lands on the field and now grama sabhas are being held before the state government going to issue pattas to the podu lands being cultivated for a long time by the tribals and non-tribals.
Forest staff including women staged dharnas in front of collectorates protesting against the death of Srinivas Rao and submitted a memorandum to the respective collectors....