HYDERABAD:The Telangana forest department will get support from the state police to fight poachers and encroachers in forest areas.
According to a recent understanding between the two departments, forest officials can contact the local police any time to get additional manpower for conducting raids on smugglers and poachers.
Principal chief conservator of forests and chief wildlife warden PK Sharma said every divisional forest official would be in touch with local police officials and share information and manpower to control illegal activities in the forest and wildlife areas.
Police will also keep an eye on regular violators of forest laws. “We will invoke the Preventive Detention Act against smugglers,” he said.
There will be a monthly review meeting at every district headquarters to analyse security issues in forest areas. There will be similar meetings with the police department as well.
Recently, top officials of the police and forest departments met at the Telangana State Secretariat and discussed a plan to protect forests in the state from encroachments and to curb smuggling activities in the border areas.
Though a similar understanding between both departments was in place in the undivided state, it was not implemented properly. However, it is going to be relaunched in the wake of Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s recent directive to officials to improve security in forest areas.
The agreement with the police is going to be a major boost to the forest department which is severely understaffed. According to the data available, one unarmed beat officer in forests areas of Telangana covers, on an average, an area of 25 sq km or 6,200 acres of forest land. At some places, one covers over 100 sq km or 24,700 acres of forest land.