KADAPA:In the wake of the encounter in the Seshachalam forests of Chandragiri mandal in Chittoor district where 20 red sanders labourers were gunned down by a Task Force team on Tuesday, Kadapa district police and forest officials declared high alert in the Seshachalam forest area of the district and were conducting checkings at forest checkposts.
As per the directions of Superintendent of Police Navin Gulati red alert was declared in the district. Hundreds of special police personnel were conducting combing operations in the forest areas in the district for the smugglers who might gain entry into the district from Chittoor district.
The district has DFO offices at Kadapa, Rajampet and Proddatur. The forest area in the limits of the Rajampet division forest is around 1.27 lakh hectares. Chitveli, Kodur, Rajampet, Sanipai are the four forest ranges in its limits. In view of attacks on forest and police personnel by red sanders smugglers in Chandragiri mandal of Chittoor district, the Kadapa district administration has been conducting extensive combing operations across forest ranges in the district. Rajampet DSP Aravind Babu, speaking to Express, said that 26 teams were conducting combing operations at Balupalle, Railway Kodur forest areas in the Rajampet division. Combined parties of forest and police consisting of 590 personnel were conducting combing at 18 base camps. “CC cameras were installed in the forests and with their help we will nab the smugglers,” the DSP said. Searches were being conducted at Railway stations and bus stands for red sanders labourers and smugglers, he said.
Police and forest officials kept a vigil on the movements of suspicious persons at Sundupalle bordering KV Palle in Chittoor district which is notorious for red sanders smuggling.
In Kadapa district, the smuggling of red sanders has been continuing unabated for the past few years. In the past, police conducted firing on the smugglers who resorted to stone pelting and attacked with sickles at Gadela, Sanipai beat areas of Railway Kodur forest range.
In the police firing four red sanders labourers belonging to Tamil Nadu died.
After Navin Gulati took charge as SP, the smuggling activities drastically came down in the district. Continuous combing has been going on in the district by forest and police personnel. In 2014, police registered 236 cases on red sanders smugglers and arrested 937 persons.
They seized 5,875 logs worth of Rs 23.30 crores and 160 vehicles. The police arrested some APSRTC drivers of Kurnool district who had played a key role in transporting red sanders labourers from Tamil Nadu.
Rajampet DFO Venkatesh speaking to Express said that instructions were already passed to the forest staff to take effective measures against smugglers