The Andhra Pradesh government is planning to use drone cameras in Rayalaseema region to increase surveillance on red sander smuggling, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu said on Saturday.
Mooting the suggestion during a meeting in Vijayawada to review law and order situation in the state, he said drones cameras or static balloon cameras may be used to keep a vigil on the red sander smuggling.
These cameras will use unused (TV) spectrum under TV White Spaces Project.
The state government in recent months intensified its efforts to check red sander smuggling in the districts bordering Tamil Nadu.
It stepped up patrolling by special task force in Seshachalam forests. In April this year, the police gunned down 20 wood cutters in the forests in Chittoor district.
The wood cutters from Tamil Nadu were allegedly hired by smugglers operating from that state.
Several smugglers have been arrested and red sander worth crores of rupees was seized in last few months. The arrested smugglers include a Chinese national.
Also called red sandalwood, the precious wood is used in traditional medicines and woodcraft across China, Myanmar, Japan and other countries of East Asia.
A tonne of red sander fetches Rs.20 lakh to Rs.25 lakh in the international market.