Sanders smugglers change tactics
By S Viswanath | ENS | Published: 12th November 2012 10:53 AM |
Have red sanders smugglers found new routes to ship out the precious wood to foreign countries? It appears so if the places where sanders logs were seized recently, within the state and neighbouring Karnakata, are marked and analysed carefully.
With increased cooperation between Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh police and forest departments, officials have tightened vigil on the routes leading to Chennai, the hitherto favourite port for sanders smuggling. Now, officials suspect that the smugglers are also shipping out the wood from other ports like Mangalore, Mumbai and Kochi.
Speaking to Exprress, Chittoor SP Kanthi Rana Tata said they have information that red sanders is being smuggled out of the country from various other ports, apart from Chennai. Until now, forest and police personnel seized red sanders mostly in Chittoor and Nellore districts which are close to Chennai.
In the recent past, Anantapur forest and police personnel have seized sanders at least in half a dozen incidents. Red sanders was also seized in Kurnool once, and on Friday, a huge quantity was found near Hyderabad.
Now, officials are planning to strengthen checkposts in all the directions around Chittoor district in a bid to close the alternative routes used by smugglers.
Red sanders is endemic to Seshachalam forest, which is spread over Chittoor and Kadapa districts and parts of Nellore and Prakasham districts. As Chennai is the closest sea port, smugglers till now exported the wood from there and even set up some stock points at Red Hills area in the Tamil Nadu capital.
To end the menace, district police and forest officials held a series of meetings for better coordination between the two departments and also with their Tamil Nadu counterparts. A series of raids were conducted and a large quantity of logs were seized and many smugglers held on the routes leading to Chennai. As a result, smuggling activity witnessed a drop in recent times.
According to sources, Tamil Nadu police and forest personal have raided godowns at Red Hills recently and seized about 25 tonne of red sanders kept ready for export.
With the police and forest department staff strengthening checkposts and checking vehicles regularly, smugglers are said to have changed their strategy and using other ports too, instead of depending on Chennai entirely.