HYDERABAD:In order to keep a tight rein on the red sanders’ smugglers, the Andhra Pradesh government is contemplating bringing an ordinance making changes to the the existing laws which govern illegal cutting and sale of red sanders in order to attach the assets of smugglers.
Sources said chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who is firm on curbing smuggling of red sanders, wants to tear into the smugglers by seizing their ill-gotten money so as to discourage others to resort to such illegal activities, which are making a significant dent to the exchequer.
“Besides incorporating new provisions in the proposed ordinance to confiscate the ill-gotten money of smugglers, the government wants to make illegal cutting of red sanders a non-bailable offence. It also wants to increase the imprisonment to three to 10 years and fine from existing `10,000 to `10 lakh for those booked under cases related to red sanders’ smuggling,” said a source.
A senior official disclosed to reporters here Friday that the chief minister had asked the legal department to suggest stringent measures to be incorporated in the ordinance to crack down on red sanders’ smuggling activities across the State.
“The ordinance is likely to be issued soon after Naidu comes back to Hyderabad from his proposed China visit, scheduled to begin on Saturday midnight,” said the official.
In fact, the Cabinet sub-committee, set up to review the controversial decisions taken up by the previous Congress governments, had a few days ago recommended to the State Cabinet to amend the laws, governing the illegal cutting and sale of red sanders in such a manner that the offenders are punished stringently.
“We have already recommended to the State Cabinet to amend the Forest Act so as to incorporate stringent punishment to those who take part in the smuggling of red sanders. The State government is now examining our suggestions,” IT minister Palle Raghunatha Reddy said. In the wake of Seshachalam Forest firing incident and the huge uproar against it, the State government is keen on incorporating stringent measures to check smugglers.