KADAPA: Proactive policing by police and forest personnel in forests of Lankamalla and Seshachalam has seen a decrease in smuggling of red sanders While 245 red sandalwood smuggling cases had been registered in 2014, these declined to 53 in 2020 and 47 in 2021.
District superintendent of police Karur Karunapati Nagendra Kumar told Deccan Chronicle that 10 special police teams are constantly patrolling the forests. A couple of these teams, comprising 10–11 armed personnel and carrying rations, are getting deep into the forests on combing operations. This is discouraging any new smugglers from entering the field. The established gangs from Tamil Nadu are also avoiding the Lankamalla and Seshachalam forests.
About 70 major international smugglers of red sanders, including 13 local dons, have been arrested. 81 prominent smugglers are serving jail terms 2014. Though some of the known smugglers have managed to evade police, their operations have got severely restricted due to constant patrolling.
There is constant surveillance at check posts, whose number has gone up from 11 to 14 since past six months. Patrol vehicles and Blue Colts have been deployed along forest routes to check any suspicious movements.
The district SP maintained that their planned operations have succeeded in discouraging red sanders smugglers from entering into the forests. “Firm action will be taken against any gang that tries to venture into forests,” Nagendra Kumar stated....