A forest range officer (FRO) Srinivas Rao died after being attacked by Guthikoya tribals at the Errabodu plantation at Bendalapadu village of Chandrugonda mandal in Kothagudem on Tuesday.
Rao had tried to stop migrant cultivators from the Guthikoya tribe to stop cutting down trees in the plantation that falls under the forest department, officials said. The cultivators attacked him with sharp-edged weapons.
Rao, who suffered severe bleeding injuries on his head, later succumbed at Chandrugonda Government Hospital for treatment.
Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) has expressed his deepest condolences to the forest official’s family. The CM announced an ex gratia of Rs 50 lakh, besides a government job to an eligible family member. He directed chief secretary Somesh Kumar to arrange for the last rites of the FRO with state honours. He also wants Forest Minister A Indrakaran Reddy, a minister from undivided Khammam district, P Ajay Kumar, to attend the last rites and monitor all arrangements.
Forest department employees also condemned the attack. The state government was committed in addressing the Podu lands’ issue and measures were being taken up accordingly.
Rao had recently won the KVS Babu Gold medal for rendering meritorious services in controlling encroachment of reserve forest lands, he added.