Against a total strength of 157 posts including forest range officer, forester, guard and watcher posts, there were only 34 vacancies.

Forest offences have come down in the forest ranges here since 2016, said District Forest Officer C. Vidhya on Saturday.

Responding to a news item published on August 21, she said the government had recruited personnel to various positions through the TN Forest Uniform Services Recruitment Committee that the vigil was tight since the last four years. In fact, sandalwood tree felling had come to nil in the range, she said.

Against a total strength of 157 posts including forest range officer, forester, guard and watcher posts, there were only 34 vacancies. When the Forest minister Dindigul C Srinivasan was taking keen interest and extra efforts for forest protection, it was incorrect to mention that poaching was on the rise. The wildlife offences have come down steadily due to intensified vigil.

During the COVID-19 times, to prevent any kind of poaching or other illegal offences, the DFO said that they have 14 anti-poaching watchers. As and when they received information from the officers concerned, action was taken, she added.

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