Forest Acts should be strengthened: DFO
Tirupati: Tirupati Divisional Forest Officer T Chakrapani said that there was a need to amend the present Forest Acts to punish the smugglers and...
Tirupati: Tirupati Divisional Forest Officer T Chakrapani said that there was a need to amend the present Forest Acts to punish the smugglers and criminals. The wood cutters and smugglers of red sanders logs are taking the advantage of the loopholes in the present forest laws and looting the forest wealth. Awarding stringent punishment to such people was the only way to protect the forests and environment, he said.
Speaking to media at the DFO’s office here on Wednesday, he said that at present, the maximum imprisonment was not more than one year for those indulging in such crimes. Once the Forest Acts were amended so as to punish the criminals with an imprisonment of at least not less than seven years and filing of cases under non-bailable sections, such crimes could be brought down to some extent, he said.
In an informal chat with press persons on the occasion of completing two years in office, Chakrapani narrated the measures that he took to prevent smuggling of red sanders. He said that during the last two years, he had seized about 550 vehicles transporting red sanders logs to various destinations from the Seshachala Forest region and arrested more than 2500 wood cutters and smugglers, he said. A few notorious smugglers were also booked under PD (Preventive Detention) Act and unearthed the links of main pimps located in Tamil Nadu, he said.
The seizure of more than 900 tonnes of red sanders logs in his tenure was remarkable and it was possible only with the complete cooperation of the entire forest staff right from watcher to Forest Range Officer, he said. He also said that once the Union Environment and Forest Ministry officials gave their approval to the clearing of the existing stock of dressed red sander logs, the smuggling activities could be controlled, he said.
He had done a lot of home work to prevent the smuggling of red sanders and the cooperation from police department, combing activities with the help of armed police personnel, base camps inside the dense forest regions with special police personnel, establishment of control room with a Toll Free Number and interaction with forest and police departments of Tamil Nadu government were some of his initiatives in controlling the smuggling, he explained.