HYDERABAD: Sending a clear signal to those involved in Red Sanders’ smuggling that they would be dealt with very strictly, Andhra Pradesh government on Wednesday resolved to bring in an ordinance to make smuggling of red sanders a non-bailable offence and increase the imprisonment period up to seven years for the offenders.
Disclosing this to reporters after the Cabinet meeting held at secretariat here on Wednesday, IT Minister Palle Raghunatha Reddy said, “We are going to take on red sanders smugglers head on and see that they are totally wiped out from our State. It is the duty of the government to protect forest properties. We would take all measures including punishing them stringently to protect red sanders.”
According to Raghunatha Reddy, the State Cabinet has decided to award not less than five years imprisonment and `3 lakh penalty for first time offenders and not less than seven years imprisonment and `5 lakh penalty for second time offenders.
He said the Cabinet has also decided to award first-time offenders with 3 months’ imprisonment and `5,000 penalty for other forest-related offences. Second time offenders would be sentenced to one year imprisonment and slapped a fine of `30,000.
Giving details of the steps taken by the government to check smuggling of red sanders, the IT Minister said from 2002 to 2014 12,300 cases were booked out of which 40 were under the Preventive Detention (PD) Ac and 18,703 people arrested. Also, 12,868 tonnes of red sanders and 7,220 vehicles were seized, he added.
Reddy further said that between 2002 and 2015 about 40,000 tonnes of red sanders, worth `40,000 crore in the international market, were illegally cut in the State.