About 40 metric tonnes of red sanders worth Rs 16 crores which were about
to be smuggled to Malaysia from Chennai Port were seized by officials of the
Directorate of Revenue Intelligence last week.
Following a tip-off, DRI seized four containers in the intervening night of
August 24 and 25. The smugglers declared that the containers contained export
cargo consignments and got it sealed at the Container Freight Station (CFS).
But, the seal was tampered and red sanders wood was loaded when the containers
were being transported to the port from the freight station.
All containers were 20 feet in size. Export of red sanders in any form is
prohibited by Indian laws.
In a related development Andhra Pradesh government have stepped up the
vigil over the transportation of workers from neighbouring Tamil Nadu who are deployed
for cutting the expensive redsanders wood from the forests in AP TN border.
The drivers of Tamil Nadu government run buses have been warned by the AP
border police that they will be arrested if they are found transporting workers
to the forest area and buses will be impounded. Combing operations are also on
by the AP Border police in the pilgrim towns of Tirupati and Kalahasti in
search of Tamil workers.
Border police have already impounded a Tamil nadu government bus and arrested
the driver on charges of transporting workers to the forest. Political storm
broke out last year when AP police shot dead six Tamil workers in an encounter
who were alleged to be involved in smuggling of red sanders.