Smugglers flee after chopping five red sanders

The Tamil Nadu Forest Department is on the lookout for smugglers who cut chopped five red sander trees from forestland near Maraimalar Nagar. The Forest Department was informed that that several red sander trees had been cut down. A team was deputed to investigate the case
Smugglers flee after chopping five red sanders
A file photo of red sanders logs that were seized by police

Chennai

“We found that the smugglers had cut down five red sander trees using a mechanised saw. Two more trees were found partially cut. We presume that the gang escaped after spotting somebody in the distance,” a forest official attached the Chennai forest division told DT Next. 
The Forest Department has planted more than 100 red sander trees in a 30-acre land adjacent to the Forest Research Institute near Kattankulathur, near Maraimalai Nagar. This is a protected area but is easily accessible for people. 
Sources said the smugglers would have waited for the right opportunity to strike and seemed to have cut the trees on Sunday night. “There were no tyre marks in the area and we believe that the smugglers planned to keep the logs ready and then bring a vehicle to transport them. Red sanders are not very large trees and are easy to cut. 
They would have hardly spent an hour’s time to cut all five trees,” the official added. Red sander smuggling has been very prominent in Chennai and both Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and Customs officials had seized several containers containing red sanders at the Chennai Port. 
There is a specialist group operating in Chennai and Andhra Pradesh, who break open the lock lever of containers that have completed customs clearance, remove the declared content and replace it with red sanders. They weld the locks with such precision that customs officials fail to notice the fraud. Such incidents have been reported to take place in large container sheds near Vyasarpadi.

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