Top priority to strengthening Forest department, says Peddireddy

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Forest Minister he recalled that 23 forest department employees, including four outsourced staff, had sacrificed their lives since 1939

Forest Minister he recalled that 23 forest department employees, including four outsourced staff, had sacrificed their lives since 1939

“Many foresters who died on duty in the state hailed from Rayalaseema region, and a good number of them sacrificed their lives at the hands of smugglers while trying to safeguard red sanders trees, considered the region’s wealth”, said Minister for Environment and Forest Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy.

Speaking after paying tributes at the forest martyrs’ pylon in Sri Venkateswara Zoological Park (SVZP) compound here on November 10 (Thursday), he recalled that 23 forest department employees, including four outsourced staff, had sacrificed their lives since 1939.

Responding to the plight of the forest staff fighting in the tough terrain, it was the former Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy who had sanctioned 360 new vehicles to the department and gunmen to the IFS officers discharging duty in 24 divisions prone to red sanders smuggling, the minister said.

He minced no words in stating that the smugglers in the past had received indirect support from politicians and even forest officials.

The minister pegged the state’s forest cover at 37,392 sq.km out of the total area of 1.62 lakh sq.km and referred to the projects on the anvil to further improve green cover.

He pointed out that the department prioritised developing forest nurseries, conserving wild animals, and improving revenue through eco-tourism.

Mr. Ramachandra Reddy later inaugurated a blood donation camp along with Zilla Parishat Chairperson Govindappa Srinivasulu, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest Madhusudhan Reddy and Superintendent of Police P. Parameswara Reddy.

Member of Parliament (Tirupati) M. Gurumoorthy requested the minister to consider the formation of the Pulicat Development Authority and prepare a master plan for its overall progress.

As Gudur and Sullurpeta constituencies were labelled by the forest department as ‘eco-sensitive zone’, many roads could not be laid to ensure development, he said and appealed to the minister to look into the issue.

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