Telangana to enact new laws to curb smuggling

Foresters, cops to work hand in hand; state to utilise services of intelligence department.

Hyderabad: Vexed with smugglers getting away easily, the state government has decided to enact new laws to ensure that anyone involved in illegal activity regarding forest wealth will face the music. The Chief Secretary has said that new laws will be brought into play for more stringent action against smugglers.

Chief Secretary S.K. Joshi along with Special Chief Secretary Ajay Misra, Director General of Police M. Mahender Reddy and Principal Chief Conservator of Forests P.K. Jha addressed the video conference with all District Collectors and SPs and forest department staff regarding the coordination of Forest and Police departments to curb smuggling activity in the forests of Telangana.

During the conference, S.K. Joshi said that the offenders should be afraid to step inside the forests and accordingly the laws will be made. As per the directions of the Chief Minister, the police department has already started working with the forest department. The government has also decided to utilise the services of the intelligence department to help the forest department in curbing smuggling activity. The Chief Secretary has directed all the districts to come up with forest protection action plans by February 6.

The Chief Secretary said, “The Chief Minister has said that forest protection will be given high priority. Directions were given to establish about 54 joint check-posts of the forest and police departments. The forest department will also develop informers by encouraging them with rewards. The police intelligence will also work on the forests.”

“The Telangana forest department is following the Andhra Pradesh Forest Act 1967. The offenders can easily get bail after being arrested for smuggling and can be imprisoned for a maximum of one year only. Now we are planning to make it at least three to five years imprisonment and make the sections non-bailable,” said an official from the forest department.

The forest department and police department have started their joint check-posts in districts of Adilabad, Nirmal and Asifabad on Monday. and started their operations. Soon about 51 check-posts will come up, as per the directions of the Chief Secretary.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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