Spike in red sanders smuggling in Seshachalam forest

Police seize 20 red sanders logs from woodcutters in Chittoor district on Friday
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Police seize 20 red sanders logs from woodcutters in Chittoor district on Friday

Highlights

  • With the Covid hitting hard businesses, particularly the construction sector in unorganised sector, many unemployed are finding smuggling an easy way for quick money
  • District reports five cases of red sanders smuggling in 10 days indicating the spurt in the illegal activity
  • The easing of Covid-19 restrictions resulting in the resuming of vehicular movement comes handy for the smugglers

Tirupati: After a lull, the red sander smugglers resumed their illegal activity of smuggling red sanders from Seshachalam forest to other states from there to the international market where the precious wood has huge demand.

The relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions resulting in the resuming of vehicular movements more so goods transports on the inter-state highway and the police still busy, engaged in corona control measures came handy to the smugglers.

The joblessness has increased with the Covid hitting hard business, commercial activities and also other sectors like construction fields employing large numbers of unorganised sector also adding to the menace with many unemployed finding smuggling an easy way for quick money.

In all, five cases of smuggling of red sanders reported within 10 days indicating the spurt in the illegal activity forcing the RSASTF (task force) and the police stepping up counter measures to check the smuggling.

The cases include seizure of 100 quality red sanders logs worth more than Rs 2 crore in the international market, from a tank canal near the forest area near Rajampeta in YSR Kadapa district on October 13, recovery of 20 logs from the deep forest in Bakarapeta range during a combing operation on October 16 by task force, Tirupati within three days.

A week back, Yerravari police also seized 10 logs. After a gap of a week, the task force again seized 10 logs in the forest area of Srivarimettu, 25 km from the city on October 22 and again on Friday it seized 20 red sanders logs during a combing operation following credible information on the smugglers entering the forest for felling the red sander trees.

Sources said some locals, who were once acting as maestry for smugglers, who are based in the cities in other states like TN and Karnataka, became active again while many locals were lured into the smuggling to make a quick buck resulting in the relapse of smuggling of red sanders.

The maestries are the key in red sanders smuggling as they are one who get the woodcutters from Tamil Nadu for felling the trees in deep forests, bring the logs outside the forest to a secret place on the forest fringes. They also see the logs were transported to other states to smugglers, who sell them in international market.

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