In 2022, the Andhra Pradesh task force seized 50 metric tons of red sandalwood worth 50 million euros and arrested 73 smugglers. The combing operations were said to have been carried out throughout the year in the Sheshachalam forest covering Chittoor and Kadapa districts of Andhra Pradesh.
The arrested red sanders were on the run since 2016, a Times of India report said. The Red Sanders Anti-Smuggling Task Force conducted nearly 1,400 operations over the years and arrested major smugglers. Overall, 281 woodworkers, masons and smugglers were arrested with 180 cases in 2021 and 106 cases were registered in 2022 by the RSASTF police. Of the 281 arrested, 197 were from Andhra Pradesh, 70 from Tamil Nadu and five from Karnataka and 50 vehicles were seized.
Read also | Andhra Pradesh: Chittoor Police seize red sandalwood logs worth Rs 1.2-Cr, eight smugglers arrested
“We are removing red sand smugglers from the forests. About 20 pending warrants were executed against smugglers in Tamil Nadu. We have conducted 1,396 operations,” RSASTF Superintendent of Police K Chakravarthi said, as quoted by ToI.
While stating that there will be strict ways to trace smugglers, he said, “CCTV cameras of Isat phones will be stepped up in red sander base divisions with weak entry and exit points. Soon we will hire dog squad to hunt down smugglers. Due to Covid-19, the services of the dog district have been stopped. were. We will start again in 2023.” The RSASTF is also working to ensure that smugglers are prosecuted in smuggling and kidnapping cases through the two newly formed courts, the report said.
In early October, the Chittoor police seized 122 pieces of red sandalwood worth Rs 1.2 crore and arrested eight smugglers involved in the smuggling. Apart from the 2-tonne trunks, the police also seized an Eicher truck, two cars and a two-wheeler worth Rs 30 lakh.