Advanced weapons to officials suggested

While the joint effort by the Forest and Police departments to curtail smuggling of red sander logs has yielded positive results, a suggestion has been made to rope in a national-level special agency to investigate the cases.

The idea was mooted at the District Forest Protection Committee meeting chaired by Collector Solomon Arokiaraj here on Thursday, where the issues discussed ranged from protection of forest wealth as well as the lives of the forest sleuths. Additional Superintendent of Police I. Subbarami Reddy, Divisional Forest Officers Bharat Kumar (Chittoor East), T. Chakrapani (Tirupati Wildlife), Srikantanatha Reddy (Chittoor West), Pavan Kumar Rao (flying squad – Tirupati) and Syed Meer (flying squad – Piler) spelt out measures to keep the smugglers at bay.

Mr. Arokiaraj heard suggestions to arm the forest officers with advanced weapons for self-protection and the need to slap preventive detention cases on identified smugglers.

It was pointed out that Bullet Shankar, who had cases on him in the Chittoor East division, was booked and sent to the Charlapally central prison.

The Collector was urged to send a team to countries like Japan and China, where the smuggled wood generally landed. As most labourers involved in felling the trees and chopping wood are from Vellore and Tiruvallur districts of adjoining Tamil Nadu, it was tentatively agreed to hold a convergence meeting with the Forest, Revenue and Police counterparts from the two States to discuss the issue threadbare.

  • Convergence meeting with Forest, Revenue and Police counterparts of Tamil Nadu and A.P. likely

  • Collector urged to send a team to China and Japan where the wood generally lands