One person arrested for cutting down red sanders in Arcot near Ranipet

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A two-wheeler, cutting machinery, ropes, torch lights and batteries seized, two of his accomplices flee the spot

A two-wheeler, cutting machinery, ropes, torch lights and batteries seized, two of his accomplices flee the spot

A 46-year-old man was arrested for cutting down a red sanders tree into 17 logs that weighed 546 kg in Banavaram reserve forest (RF) in Arcot town near Ranipet. Two of his accomplices including a juvenile fled the spot.

Forest officials said that a two-wheeler, cutting machinery, ropes, torch lights and batteries were seized from him. It was during a routine patrol in the forest near the Palar river, a five-member team of forest officials heard wood cutting noise inside the reserve forest, which is a prohibited area, at around 5 a.m.

The trio was cutting the 40-foot-tall tree into logs of various sizes. However, they did not notice the forest department team, who rounded them up. Two accomplices managed to escape from the spot, leaving behind the logs. The main accused, S. Vijayakumar, a resident of Tiruttani town, was nabbed by the forest officials. “He is a repeat offender. He was arrested for the same offence in 2014 from the same RF. The case is still before the local court,” K. Venketasan, Forest Range Officer, Arcot Range, said.
Initial inquiries revealed that Vijayakumar and his two accomplices, who are his relatives from the same town, have been visiting the reserve forest regularly during their carpentry work in villages along the forest fringes. During such visits to the forest, they identified red sander trees in the thick forest. Taking advantage of less surveillance especially by the forest staff, they decided to cut one of the trees.
 
During early 1980s, more than one lakh red sanders saplings were planted in these forests as part of environmental conservation. At present, around three lakh red sanders with traditional markings are located in these forest areas. However, the red sanders are scattered covering Arcot, Walajah, Sholinghur and Arakkonam taluks. This makes it difficult for forest officials to keep a track on these trees.
 

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