Andhra's Anti-Smuggling Force to get satellite phones for cracking whip on red log smugglers 

A senior police officer said the contractors pay Rs 30,000-Rs 40,000 per week to a woodcutter and hire them for cutting red sanders trees in the forest.

Published: 12th October 2021 07:26 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th October 2021 07:26 AM   |  A+A-

Police, Crime

For representational purposes (Express Illustrations)

Express News Service

TIRUPATI: The AP Red Sanders Anti Smuggling Task Force (RSASTF), who is in charge of preventing the smuggling and felling of red sanders trees, will soon get satellite phones. The lack of proper communication devices among police personnel, during combing operations in the forest areas, has given smugglers and woodcutters an advantage to venture into Seshachalam Forest.

RSASTF SP M Sundara Rao said, “A proposal was sent to the authorities concerned for the procurement of the satellite mobile phones. Approval has been received for procuring eight satellite phones, which will be handed over to the department very soon.”The SP explained that considering the high maintenance cost of the devices, eight phones will be procured initially. 

“The Greyhound operates the satellite phones. The RSASTF will be the second unit to access the phones for carrying out its operations,” he added. The official informed that in the first nine months of 2021 alone, the RSASTF has seized a whopping 2,143 red sanders logs weighing 42 tonnes. According to official estimates, the Task Force has seized logs worth around Rs 35 to Rs 40 crore. The police have also arrested 216 people and registered 88 criminal cases.

In 2020, the number of red sanders smuggling cases came down as travel restrictions had been imposed due to Covid-19. Police had registered 65 cases and arrested 200 people in 2020. They had also recovered 1,600 logs weighing 40 tonnes and 40 vehicles. There has been a substantial rise in the smuggling of red sanders in 2021. “In September alone, 17 to 18 cases have been registered,” he said. 

“Woodcutters, mainly tribal people from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and some locals, are venturing into the forests. What is shocking is that teenagers between the ages 16 and 18 are being lured into criminal activity.”A senior police officer said the contractors pay Rs 30,000-Rs 40,000 per week to a woodcutter and hire them for cutting red sanders trees in the forest.


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