The sacred Seshachalam forests in and around the temple town of Tirumala is now in news for all wrong reasons. After the reports of missionary literature of Christians being found in Tirumala for the last couple of years, now the issue is smuggling.
With Red Sandalwood which is a rare species seen only in few districts of Rayalaseema and nowhere else in the world, the international market has seen booming prices. Just one kilogram of red sanders is fetching Rs.1000 in the international market. With increased surveillance on local smugglers, sources say that the smuggling mafia is now hiring hundreds of Tamilians who are ex-followers of Verappan along Karnataka -Tamil Nadu border.
After finishing off Sandalwood in those areas, now they have arrived in AP to smuggle red sandalwood. Sources say that this is the gang which was behind the brutal killing of two senior forest department officials two days back around 20 kilometers from the sacred Papanashanam falls near Tirumala. It has now become a huge challenge for AP to get rid of the menace!