Friday, February 18, 2011

He shunned the lure of US job to serve tribals : Ravella Vineel Krishna

HYDERABAD: Like any other ordinary soul, Ravella Vineel Krishna used to move around in the interior and inaccessible areas of Malkangiri district of Odisha on a motorcycle. He mingled with the people freely, discussed their problems and made all efforts to solve their problems. The people there too held him in high regard and felt he was one of them. Despite the fact that he was working in the Maoist stronghold, Krishna refused to move around with security and this perhaps was the reason he landed himself in the 'custody' of Maoists.

Hailing from Kuchinapudi, near Tenali, in Guntur district, Vineel Krishna, a 2005-batch IAS officer and Malkangiri district collector in the neighbouring state was abducted by the extremists yesterday.

“Being an Indian, serve the country. Why go to some foreign land when you have much more to do here?'' is what Krishna, an IITian from Madras and state topper in the civil services examination, used to tell his US-based brother whenever he asked him to settle down in the US.

It is this sense of patriotism and craving to serve the poor that drove Krishna to civil services and work in a backward area of Odisha's tribal belt, his family members said.

The 29-year-old IAS officer's father, Rambabu, has retired as a deputy general manager (accounts) at BHEL while his mother, Kusuma, a teacher at BHEL school, has taken voluntary retirement recently. After Iintermediate, Krishna studied civil engineering at IIT-Madras in 2002.

“Krishna's brother, Kiran, who did MS and is living in the US, wanted his brother to go over there as he could get a decent job there. The younger brother, however, wanted to do something for the society and the motherland,'' his aunt, Yarlagadda Sailaja, assistant station director of Hyderabad Doordarshan Kendra, told Express.

Krishna was the state top-ranker in civils in his second attempt in 2005 and joined the IAS and was made part of the Orissa cadre. “His parents and other members of the family had wished that he would be posted in Andhra Pradesh but he had no regrets. On the other hand he was happy that he got Orissa cadre. He used to tell us that there was more scope to serve the society in a state like Orissa and joined the service there without a second thought,'' Sailaja recalled.

He worked as sub-collector and later as joint collector in backward areas like Barapada and was posted as special officer at Kandhamal during the clashes between Hindus and Christians there. He was promoted as collector just 15 months ago and given the charge of Maoist-affected Malkangiri. Krishna reportedly did not allow gunmen to give security to him and used to move freely in the interior and inaccessible areas on motorcycles with locals. “Krishna earned a good name among the tribals there and the locals like him very much,'' Sailaja said.

Krishna is married to Chandana, daughter of a retired DGP SK Venugopal - IPS (Brother in law of MR Doraiswamy Naidu, Chairman, PES Group of Institutions) in Bangalore, and the couple have a 2-year-old son, Nrupen Murari, who is now staying with grandparents in Bangalore. At the dead of night last night, around 1.30 am, Chandana called up her mother-in-law, Kusuma, and conveyed the news of her husband's kidnap.

“She was too shocked to tell us more. She was inconsolable,'' Sailaja said with tears welling up in her eyes as she watched the news of kidnap on television. In another two hours Krishna's parents hit the road on way to Malkangiri. His father-in-law, Venugopal, also left for Odisha.

“We are not able to contact Chandana as it was a remote area. Even my sister, Kusuma, was not accessible. The last time I spoke to her was around 10.30 am and she was at Bhadrachalam then. I am unable to contact her now,'' Sailaja said, adding that Krishna had last visited the state six months ago to attend a family function in Tenali.
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