Officials of the Andhra Pradesh Forest Department seized 75 red sander logs and arrested a wood cutter in a raid conducted late on Tuesday evening near Seshapuram forest area of Chandragiri mandal in Chittoor District. In another incident, the forest department officials recovered another 100 logs on the Kadapa highway.
Seshapuram is just a couple of kilometres from Naravaripalle, the native village of Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.
Based on the tip-off provided by the Red sanders Anti-Smuggling Task Force (RSASTF), a team of sleuths led by Forest Beat Officer Kodandam raided the area and identified 75 logs hidden near the forest fringe village, understandably ready for transportation. The wood cutter Govindaswamy, hailing from Vellore District in Tamil Nadu, was arrested along with the logs and was learnt to be in forest department custody.
This particular area falling under Nagapatla section of Chamala Range, according to forest officials, has emerged as the latest secret route. While the Tirupati-Chittoor and Tirupati-Piler highways have high visibility in the form of check posts and forest surveillance, this road tucked between the above two is seldom monitored.
Surrounded by thick forests, hillocks and rich wildlife, this stretch from A. Rangampet to Pakala via Naravaripalle, Seshapuram and Bhimavaram is rarely used by vehicles or pedestrians and hence considered favourable for clandestine operations.
100 more logs recovered
In a related development, the sleuths seized 100 redsanders logs from a large-sized cargo vehicle, which was intercepted at Anjaneyapuram on the Tirupati-Kadapa highway. “The consignment of precious logs, weighing around three tonnes, were loaded in Kodur and was on its way to Chennai”, said T.V. Subba Reddy, Divisional Forest Officer (Tirupati Wildlife Management Circle). The vehicle’s driver, who was the lone occupant, was picked up for questioning.