Red Sander Smuggling has become a trend in Tirupati. To trace the smuggling racket, the Red Sanders Anti-Smuggling Task Force (RSASTF) invented a drone the camera which was successfully run in the Seshachalam forest area last week.
Andhra Pradesh government is facing a major problem as the smuggling activities of have reached international level. The Task Force personnel found the drone camera very useful when a trial run was done at Mekalabanda near Srivari mettu near Tirupati and Kumaradhara Pasupudhara dam atop Tirumala hills.
The total geographical area of Seshachalam forest is 4,755 km. The hill has been spread over two districts i.e, Chittoor and Kadapa. Recently a separate police station was set up at Kapilatheertham by RSASTF to particularly deal with red sanders cases.
RSASTF has been established with police and forest forces. A total of 183 personnel is working presently under the Task Force team. Field-level activities like intensive combing, digging trenches along the forest area, setting up base camps in the deep forest and check posts along highways did not help the Task Force team to locate the smuggler's movements in the forest due to which they opted to adopt modern scientific tools like drones cameras.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu directed officials to clear all the menace and protect the Seshachalam forest. RSASTF Deputy Inspector-General M. Kantha Rao got the drones tested after which he expressed his satisfaction with the drone cameras.
“The drone cameras are very useful for the surveillance of the movements of the red sanders smugglers who venture into dense forest areas to cut the trees. The smugglers are intruding into the Seshachalam forest area despite the heavy security from the forest and task force teams. There are several instances where they fled into the deep forest after noticing our teams. It is a hard task to comb the vast forest area by not knowing about their hideouts inside the forest. If we can identify their location we can easily attack them for which the aerial surveillance will be helpful,” said RSASTF DSP S.V. Sridhar Rao.
He added that “they are proposing to establish 10 base camps exclusively to deal with drone cameras surveillance where the presence of precious trees has been marked. The images transmitted from drone cameras will be received by a couple of base stations established in the middle of the new base camps. When we notice the movements of the smugglers within a short time we can strike them,” he said.
According to sources, “the drone camera costs around Rs 1 crore depending upon its tracking capacity. The drone can fly up to three km atop and can capture images in a radius of 5km with 360 degrees rotating the camera. Around half a dozen drones will be deployed in the two districts to scan every inch of the Seshachalam forest areas for locating human movement. The images with accurate locations will be transmitted to the base camps, which will be set very shortly to help to curb the illegal red sanders trees felling and smuggling.”
Also Read: Red sanders worth 1Cr seized
BY M. DIVYA SRI