Adilabad: Adilabad police came out with a new strategy of appealing to the wood smugglers to surrender before the police and join the mainstream along the lines of Maoists. The police are ready to offer rehabilitation package to the wood smugglers if they quit the illegal activity.
The police and forest officials are focusing on professional wood smugglers Multhanis settled in settlements such as Keshavapatnam and Gundala in old Ichoda mandal. It is a fact that some political leaders irrespective of parties are indirectly supporting wood smugglers especially the Multhanis as they have become a prominent vote bank in the elections for the local body, Assembly and Lok Sabha. Some political leaders have been using the Multhanis for their illegal wood smuggling business by giving them advances to supply teakwood.
The police and forest department are preparing special plans for the welfare and development of the Multhani families who are involved in wood smuggling, provided they quit their illegal activity. Illiteracy is also one of the reasons that has forced the Multhanis to get involved in illegal wood smuggling and consider it as their main occupation and livelihood.
Multhanis are considered as the most dreaded wood smugglers who carry out attacks on police and forest staff if they obstruct them while transporting wood in bullock carts and vehicles. As many as six forest staff have died so far in the attacks in the old Adilabad district. A few Vaddera community people of Kadam area are also active in wood smuggling.
It may surprise one to know that some present senior political leaders of the old Adilabad district had started their political career as wood smugglers 25 years ago by supplying teakwood to the then top political leaders of their respective parties who were constructing their houses in Hyderabad.
The police have promised to provide them training in skill development to lead a meaningful and respectable life. The police and forests department will also provide bank loans and welfare measures for their empowerment if the wood smugglers stop felling trees and cooperate with the government to protect the forests.
Superintendent of police Mr Vishnu S. Warrier said that they are making special efforts to seize teakwood stocked illegally and are forming special teams to arrest the persons involved in teakwood smuggling.
He said that the persons involved in wood smuggling should surrender before the police and they will provide them alternative livelihoods. Team of police and forest officials led by Mr Vishnu S.Warrier interacted with Multhanis who were considered professional wood smugglers....