MYSORE: Eight years after forest brigand Veerappan was gunned down by the joint Special Task Force (STF) of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in October 2004, nearly 173 forest personnel who risked their lives in the operation still await their rewards.
In 2004, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa promoted 752 STF men and announced `3 lakh cash award and a plot for each of them. Former Karnataka chief minister N Dharam Singh also announced `16.7 crore award for 754 cops and sites for the forest officials. The state government, after clearance from the Finance, Law and Urban Development Departments, gave away sites under the Mysore Urban Development Authority (MUDA) to 267 persons.
The brigand abducted 12 forest personnel from Gundal and held them hostage for more than 40 days. In the operation, the forest officials guided the cops deep inside the forest and trained them in dealing with wild animals in the forest.
“We spent weeks inside the forest with STF men guiding them during the combing operations and sat for hours on trees to track the movements,” said Ranger Udaykumar, STF.The names of the 173 persons were submitted to the PCCF. Repeated re-submission of the list were not considered by the authorities.