Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh is losing hundreds of tonnes of red sanders worth crores due to lack of proper intelligence and collusion of some officers and police with smugglers. Also, because of the negligence of state government officials, the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government are benefiting.
Central government agencies like Customs often seize red sanders being smuggled out of AP. The Tamil Nadu police also seizes the prized wood from smugglers in their state.
The AP government’s argument is that red sanders is endemic to AP and found naturally in the forests of Seshachalam and thus, the red sanders seized by the customs department and other states belong to Andhra Pradesh.
AP Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu had written to the Centre requesting directions to the Customs department to handover the seized red sanders to AP. He had also requested the Union minister for forests to issue instructions to all state forest departments to hand over red sanders seized by them.
But the Centre has stated that according to the rules, any asset seized by the Customs department belongs to the Centre and therefore, it will not be possible to hand over the seized wood to AP.
According to AP forest officials, the customs officials have seized around 1,200 tonnes and the Tamil Nadu police has seized 1,100 tonnes of red sanders. The forest officials added that the Tamil Nadu government, too, will not hand over the red sanders seized by their police.
They said that smugglers also transport teak wood through AP from Madhya Pradesh and when the AP police seizes these consignments, they are not handed over to Madhya Pradesh. Officials added that if the state officials and police maintain strict vigilance and seize the red sanders within the state’s limits, this situation will not arise.
Due to the negligence of state government officials, smugglers are able to cross the border, taking the wood out of the state’s hands even if it is intercepted....
Location: Andhra Pradesh