ADILABAD: Following Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s instructions to the forest department to get tough on smuggling, district forest officials have decided to set up as many as 25 new check posts to control teak wood smuggling in erstwhile Adilabad district. They will be spread out over Adilabad, Nirmal, Macherial and Kumarambheem districts.
Adilabad district will get six new check posts at Sunkidi, Ankoli, Gunpur, Gangapur, Dasnapur and Dona crossroads.At these check posts, forest officials will work in coordination with the police department. A total of 10 men/women will man them round the clock. Apart from this, forest officials will also be vigilant about smuggling movement across Godavari, Pranahitha and Penganga rivers by setting base camps at strategic locations.
In 2018, teak wood worth as much as `47,41,466 was seized in Adilabad district. Nearly 10 cases were filed at Echoda and one case was filed at Boath range. During separate raids, many forest department personnel had been assaulted by the offenders, leading to the former filing 6 cases in total at Neredigonda and Echoda police stations.
Meanwhile, Intelligence department officials are investigating into claims of forest and police department personnel working in cahoots with teakwood smugglers and poachers. It had come to light on January 19 that officials at Soan check post were bribed into looking the other way and let teak wood smugglers escape.
However, according to an official, there are many problems that the department has to solve first before they can properly address smuggling and poaching activity. “Ever since the districts were reorganised in 2016, the department has had staff shortage. We will need fresh recruitment to man the new check posts,” he said.