TIRUPATI: Contrary to the reports that many woodcutters from Tamil Nadu could still be holed up in the Seshachalam forest in Chittoor district closely guarding the red sanders booty gathered by them, the police and the forest officials claimed that they had already fled to the neighbouring districts after the recent ‘encounter’ with the cops.
In a bid to strengthen their version, the officials cite the arrest of some woodcutters and smugglers in Nellore and Kadapa in the aftermath of the encounter and the corresponding lack of activity in the forest as reported by the monitoring cell after observing the CCTV footage from the forest.
The police and forest staff claimed that in the intensified combing operations in the week following the encounter they did not come across any woodcutters in the forest spread under the Tirupati Wildlife Division.
“We neither found any woodcutters nor heard any sound of tree-felling during the combing operations,” said Tirupati divisional forest officer G Srinivasulu. However, logs cut from red sanders trees were being spotted at some places in the forest and being seized. “On Sunday night, we have seized 38 logs under the limits of Mamandur North beat and Gadipenta area,” he added.
“Each and every movement of humans and animals is being recorded with the help of 40 CCTV cameras installed at various strategic locations in the Tirupati forest division. The staff from the monitoring cell in Hyderabad pass on the information to the Tirupati forest staff if any abnormal activity is detected.