TIRUPATI: With the killing of 20 red sander smugglers in Seshachalam forest creating chaos in both Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, the AP government is planning to avoid such incidents by fencing the entire Seshachalam forest.
During a brief interaction with mediapersons on the sidelines of attending a private function here on Sunday, forest and environment minister Bojjala Gopalakrishna Reddy said the government is ready to spend any amount of money for protection of the forest. “It may cost Rs 100 crore or above,” he maintained.
Making it clear that the government will take all steps for tackling the menace of red sanders smuggling, he asserted the kingpins in the network would be nabbed soon. Responding to a query on recent auction of red sanders, in which Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev procured the much-lucrative wood weighing around 700 tonnes, Reddy said, “The transaction was successful and there is another auction of red sanders coming up within two days.”
He said the government hopes to generate an estimated revenue of Rs 1,000 crore through the second phase global auction of red sander logs and spend Rs 100 crore for protection of red sander trees.
Defending the encounter in which 20 coolies from the neighbouring Tamil Nadu were gunned down, he said the task force personnel opened fire to protect themselves from woodcutters who came charging at them holding sickles and hurling stones.