Kothagudem FRO laid to rest with state honours in Khammam

A rift over podu (forest) lands took an ugly turn and resulted in Rao's murder in Chandrugonda range in Bhadradri Kothagudem on Tuesday.

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  23 Nov 2022 12:59 PM GMT
Kothagudem FRO laid to rest with state honours in Khammam

Hyderabad: Kothagudem Forest Range Officer (FRO) Chalamala Srinivasa Rao, who died in an attack by the people belonging to the Gutti Koya tribe on 22 November was laid to rest on Wednesday by paying state honours during the funeral.

A rift over podu (forest) lands took an ugly turn and resulted in Rao's murder in Chandrugonda range in Bhadradri Kothagudem on Tuesday.

According to sources, the tribal people attacked Rao when he questioned them for removing saplings planted by the Forest Department. There was a heated argument between both sides. As tension mounted, the cultivators attacked Rao with sickles, knives, and other sharp-edged weapons. The officer fell to the ground but the assailants continued attacking him.

Forest Minister A Indrakaran Reddy, Transport Minister Puvvada Ajay Kumar, MP Vaddiraju Ravichandra, Govt Whip Rega Kantha Rao, Khammam TRS district president, MLC Tata Madhusudhan, several legislators and officials took part in the last rites of the official performed at his native village in Khammam.

Rao was known as an exceptional officer in his circles. He was awarded a gold medal for the KVS Babu Memorial Award in 2021.

Remembering Rao, IFS officer Rohith Gopidi wrote on Twitter, "Have very fond memories of him. A dedicated forester and a straight forward person. Gone too soon at 42, hope his family finds solace." Gopidi also added that there was a need for urgent security reforms to protect frontline personnel in discharge of their duties.

Mohan Pargein IFS also shared his grief on hearing the news. "A very sad day. Another green hero lost his life while protecting the forest. Ch. Srinivas Rao, a Range officer from Kothagudem in Telangana, was killed by encroachers . RIP and heartfelt condolences to family," he tweeted.

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao expressed deep shock and sorrow over the death of the Forest Range Officer. CM announced a Rs 50 lakh ex-gratia to the family of the deceased FRO and directed officials to pay the full salary to their family members till the age of retirement of the officer,

Meanwhile, two people who were booked under Section 302, 332 of the Indian Penal Code have been arrested by Kothagudem police.

Gutti Koya tribe

The Gutti Koya tribe has been residing in the forest of Telangana for the last sixteen years after migrating from Chattisgarh. They speak the Koya language. Apparently, the conflict between the Maoist and government forces led to their migration in large numbers from Chattisgarh to the forests of Telangana.

Previous incidents

Earlier in 2019, a woman forest officer and her staff were attacked with bamboo sticks in Komaram Bheem Asifabad. According to reports, the woman officer and her team had gone to plant saplings as part of Telangana government's Haritha Haram programme when a local leader along with the local people attacked them claiming it was their land.

In another incident in 2019, two forest officers were attacked in Bhadradri Kothagudem when they tried to stop the people from ploughing forest land with a tractor.

Next Story
Share it