BHUPALPALLY: A podu farmer and his family members attacked a Forest Range Officer and her team and tried to set them on fire when the team had gone to a forest area to inspect a site, at Pandipampula of Bhupalpally mandal on Thursday. The team of forest officials had gone to inspect a site where saplings were planted in 10 acres of forest land as a part of the Haritha Haram campaign. The officials — Azamnagar Forest Range Officer Divya, section officer Mohan and beat officer Ajay — escaped with minor burns.
A farmer and his family that attacked forest officials in Bhupalpally mandal on Thursday did so as the farmer was growing cotton in forest land, which the officials had come to inspect. K Mahesh, whose family attacked the officials, cultivates cotton in five acres of podu land in the village. When Forest Range Officer Divya and her team visited a site near the village to inspect it, Mahesh and his family members obstructed them, attacked them with sticks, and poured petrol on them.
Speaking to Express, Jayashankar Bhupalpally District Forest Officer (DFO) B Lavanya said Mahesh had damaged the saplings planted by the Forest Department and was trying to cultivate cotton in forest land. She said the injured officials were shifted to Bhupalpally Urban Primary Health Center (UPHC) for treatment and added that a case over the incident had been registered at Bhupalpally police station. However, Bhupalpally DSP A Sampath Rao said they had not received any complaint from Forest Department officials.