French nationals among 58 fined

Special Correspondent

Rs. 59,600 levied for venturing deep into Seshachalam reserve forest

They were later found to be researchers conducting a study on flora, fauna

KADAPA: Fifty eight persons including researchers from France and natives of Tamil Nadu and Hyderabad were levied a penalty of Rs. 59,600 for venturing deep into Seshachalam reserve forest near Railway Kodur without any formal permission.

Some researchers from France – Jean, Maria and Fastien – and members of Truckers and ORG of Chennai and Hyderabad, who came in four-wheelers, carrying detailed maps of the forest area near Railway Kodur trekked in the forests on Monday and Tuesday and went round Vagetikona reservoir, Adimanu bandalu, Siddhaleru, Gunjana waterfalls, Yerragudlamadugu stream, Ammoru bandalu and Bandotla.

Forest officials were in the dark on their visit and local people suspected that a group of ‘smugglers’ entered the forests and were on the look out for contraband. As rumours spread , the Balupalle forest ranger Krishnaiah and forest staff took the group of foreigner researchers and others accompanying them, into custody and enquired.

On ascertaining that they were researchers conducting a study on the flora, fauna, density of forests and climatic conditions in forest areas, the forest officials heaved a sigh of relief.

However, they had to pay a fine of Rs. 59,600 for venturing into the forests without prior intimation.

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