TRS MLA Koneru Konappa — whose brother led a mob attack on a woman forest officer in June this year — is now a member of the State Board for Wildlife for Telangana, re-constituted Wednesday.
TRS MLA Koneru Konappa’s brother assaults woman forest officer at a village in Telangana. Forest Range Officer C Anita went to Sarasala village in Sirpur Mandal to take part in a plantation drive. pic.twitter.com/jE5GitgZRj
The government order said after “careful examination of the proposal of the principal chief conservator of forest(Hoff) and chief wildlife warden (FAC)”, the state board for wildlife was being reconstituted under section 6(1) of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, for three years, with the Chief Minister as chairperson and the minister of Forests and Environment as vice-chairperson.
Responding to criticism on his name figuring as member, Koneru Konappa, who represents Sirpur constituency, said allegations against him were baseless and politically motivated.
“I was not involved in the issue. It was my brother. I have always spoken about the development of forests and wildlife. I have always motivated the public on the need to protect tigers and forests to improve tourism,” he told indianexpress.com.
According to Konappa, the issue involving his brother, Koneru Krishna, took place due to “misunderstanding and lack of coordination” between villagers and officials. “It happened for the first time and I have said before that such an incident should not happen again. Our concept is the protection and development of forests, it is our duty. It is my responsibility as MLA to protect the tigers in the forests of my constituency,” he added.
Apart from MLA Konappa, MLA Marri Janardhan Reddy and MLA Vanama Venkatesh Rao were chosen as members. Anil Kumar Epur, Chairman, World Wide Fund (WWF) India, Hyderabad, JVD Murthy, president, Deccan Birders, and Avinash Viswanathan, general secretary, Friends of Snakes Society, have been also been chosen as members (persons to represent NGOs dealing with Wildlife).
Ten people, including scientists, ornithologists, etc. were chosen as members (persons amongst eminent conservationists, ecologists, and environmentalists) and 13 others, including bureaucrats and government officials, have been chosen as ‘other members’.
As per section 8 of the Act, it will be the duty of the State Board for Wildlife to advice the state government in the selection and management of areas to be declared as protected areas, formulation of the policy for protection and conservation of wildlife and specified plants, matters relating to amendment of any schedule and measures to be taken for harmonising the needs of tribal and other dwellers of the forest with the protection and conservation of forests, reads the GO.
In June this year, a mob of villagers led by Koneru Krishna attacked forest range officer C Anitha and others when they went to Sarasala village in Kumarambheem Asifabad district to plant saplings as part of state’s ‘Haritha Haaram’ afforestation programme. The villagers had claimed the land belonged to them. FRO Anitha had received head injuries and the video had gone viral.
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