KHAMMAM: It would be fair to say that no one envies the forest department staff. They are perpetually caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. If they try to prevent tribals from felling trees, they risk their lives, and if they don’t, their seniors promptly read them the riot act. If any trees under their supervision are felled and the timber disappears, the value of the trees is recovered from their salaries.
A beat officer working in Dummagudem mandal of Kothagudem had to pay `2,500 from her wages when villagers in the area felled a few trees for podu cultivation.
Another officer working in Cherla mandal was suspended for failing to prevent a teak tree from being felled in the Vaddipet forest. He somehow managed to dodge the pay cut since the felled tree was recovered by the forest department. In fact, many officers who retired are suffering because their pensions have not been settled because of “omissions in duty”.