Hyderabad, June 12: A task force has been formed to check smuggling of red sandalwood in Chittoor and Nellore, mainly by Tamil Nadu based smugglers, Andhra Pradesh police said here today.
A Tirupati-headquartered task force has been formed in consultation with the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests to conduct raids in Chittoor, Kadapa and Nellore, a release from the DGP's office said.
The task force, which will be headed by an Additional Superintendent of Police, consists of an Assistant Conservator of Forest, two forest rangers, four foresters, a DSP, two police circle inspectors and four police sub-inspectors, besides one platoon of armed reserve police, the release said.
It would start functioning once these officers report at the Tirupati headquarters, it added. Red sandalwood, also known as red sanders, is a valuable variety of wood with a huge demand overseas, particularly from China and Japan, where it is used to make cosmetic products, furniture, musical instruments and even drugs.
A tonne of the wood costs Rs 10 lakh locally, but is sold at double the rate in the international market.
Red sandalwood grows only in the Seshachalam Hill Ranges spread across Kadapa, Chittoor and Kurnool in the Rayalaseema region and parts of Nellore in Andhra Pradesh, though the majority of red sanders smuggling takes place from Chittoor and Kadapa districts.