The State Forest Department was in the process of installing CCTV cameras along the border areas, especially near check posts, as there was an increase in the smuggling of red sanders into Tamil Nadu from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, said Forest Minister Dindigul C Srinivasan on Thursday.
In both Vellore and Tiruvannamalai districts, from where a number of people have crossed the border to work as woodcutters, the local public were being made aware about the risks involved in this livelihood, Srinivasan said. Similarly, special efforts are taken to spread awareness among the tribal communities so that they stayed away from the lucrative but dangerous trade of smuggled red sanders nor would they go to AP for this purpose.
He noted that many red sanders smugglers shot dead by AP Forest Department personnel over the last two years were found to be from hill tracts in Tiruvannamalai district.
Srinivasan added that the 1147 vacant posts in the Forest Department would be soon filled through the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC). Also, the department would initiate action to provide roads inside the forest areas wherever necessary in Vellore after March next year, he added.
When asked about the ruling AIADMK’s prospects in the ensuing bypolls to the 20 Assembly seats, the minister said the party was fully confident that it would win all the seats.