BENGALURU: For the first time in the recent past, two sandalwood trees, aged around 8 years, were reduced to stumps by miscreants at Sports Authority of India (SAI) Bengaluru campus in Mallathahalli. A police complaint was lodged and the forest department officials seized the remaining logs and took them into their custody. The theft has brought to the fore the necessity of conducting an exclusive sandalwood census in the city to keep stock of the number of standing sandalwood trees and maintaining them.
Assistant Director of SAI S Ravi said that this was the first time such an incident had happened in the recent past. He said that the campus is spread across 81 acres and is well-fenced. Despite some of the mature sandalwood trees having tree guards, the theft took place.
A similar incident was attempted some days ago at the Atomic Energy Centre, but due to alert guards, the thieves ran away. Deputy Conservator of Forests, Bengaluru urban, Sidaramappa said when the police informed the department of the incident, the staffers were sent to the site. After a thorough inspection, the remaining logs were seized.
Another forest official said: “Girth of the tree was good and hardwood was also formed, because of which theft happened. Some of the logs have been stolen by the thieves. What is remaining has been recovered. Looking at the size of the campus, the SAI should deploy more security personnel as it is private land. The is already a lot of pressure on forest officials, but now, in the wake of increasing number of incidents, the state government should consider giving permission to do a sandalwood tree census in the city and state. A proper count and location can be known and maintained through this.”