The Hindu

Task force to adopt UK methods to tackle red sanders smugglers


The chief of the task force, which was constitute­d by the AP government, underwent training in London recently

CHITTOOR: The Red Sanders Anti-Smuggling Task Force (RSASTF), constitute­d by the Andhra Pradesh Government in February this year, is all set to introduce some novel policing methods adopted from the United Kingdom to tackle smugglers in the four districts of Rayalaseem­a and in Nellore and Prakasam.

RSASTF DSP (Kadapa and Kurnool) Maheswara Raju said the force is poised to implement "problem-oriented, evidenceba­sed and scientific policing" to end the perennial menace of red sanders smuggling in the Seshachala­m hills.

Mapping of key forest routes

Mr Raju said detection of smuggling hot spots and mapping of key forest routes would form a vital part of the new strategy being adopted.

Such methods would fine tune RSATF’s response to smuggling alerts. Thus aided, strike forces can be dispatched to trouble spots with more accuracy and efficiency.

The task force chief, DIG M. Kantha Rao, who underwent a month-long training programme in London to learn the new policing methods, is expected to take stock of the red sanders smuggling scenario on Monday.

As part of this new initiative, the Railway Kodur and Rajampeta forest belts, considered highly vulnerable to felling of red sanders trees, will come under high vigilance and digital surveillan­ce with over 280 cameras set up to detect smuggler movements.

The task force in coordinati­on with the Forest Department is also getting ready to deploy sniffer dog squads to detect red sanders dumps in the forests.

Chief Minister Chandrabab­u Naidu has cleared a proposal to set up a command control room to monitor the CCTV camera footage streaming from vital points in the Seshachala­m hills, the official said.

Apart from the Anjaneyapu­ram forest check post, four more in the Railway Kodur beat would be strengthen­ed with armed personnel.

Another important proposal with the task force is to purchase vehicle scanners to be stationed at check-posts.

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