Hassan: The Ramadevarahalla state forest has been robbed of the precious sandalwood the forest offers, said a villager, complaining on the inefficiency of the forest department.
Recently, several cases of smuggling sandalwood from the forest have come to light. In regards to which villagers from Sampigemaradahalli, a village neighbouring the forest, speaking to a daily said that even though guards maintain a vigil, smugglers manage to axe sandalwood trees at night.
Similar complaints were made by villagers of Rayapura and Sigge Halli, both in the vicinity of the sprawling 3,670 hectare forest. They alleged that men from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh sneak in and bring down sandalwood trees at night.
When clarified, Range Forest Officer (RFO), Belur, Ravi said that we have been dealing with a firm hand on smuggling and take appropriate action against the culprits.
He said about six months back, we arrested Balaiahan and two others from Tamil Nadu for smuggling sandalwood from the forest. They also recalled how one smuggler was shot dead by them a couple of years ago inside Ramadevarahalla forest.
Our personnel keep a watch over the forest area, but we will tighten the vigil to stop smuggling of sandalwood, Ravi assured.
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