TIRUPATI: State government is preparing to e-auction 5,700 tonnes of seized logs of red sanders logs and mobilise around ₹3,000 crore. These logs, currently locked up in heavily guarded godowns, have been seized from smugglers by task force, forest and police departments.
The sale will be through MSTC Limited, a central public sector undertaking involved in diversified e-commerce services.
Red sanders (pterocarpus santalinus) are endangered species of tree found in forests across Rayalaseema region and Nellore district as well. Known for their rich hue and therapeutic properties, the wood of these trees is in high demand across Asia, particularly China. It fetches enormous rates in international market and is targeted by smugglers.
Around 5,600 tonnes of seized logs are in eight godowns of Tirupati. Another 100 tonnes are stored in Kapilatheertham godown. All these storage points are protected by APSP Battalion personnel and are under 24X7 CCTV surveillance.
There are about two lakh logs of ‘A’ grade red sanders weighing 800 tonnes, ‘B’ grade weighing 1,730 tonnes and ‘C’ grade weighing 2,900 tonnes.
According to sources, state government sold between 2014–15 and 2018–19 the three varieties of logs and earned ₹505 crore and ₹1,666 crore. However, no auctions have been conducted during last few years for various reasons, primarily Covid-19 and delay in getting approvals from central authorities.
Now, the state government has received necessary approvals from the ministry of environment, forests and climate change and director general of foreign trade for auctioning and exporting the seized logs.
A senior official said” “As we got necessary approvals, we are now preparing a schedule for global e-auction of the logs. A notification to this effect will be released soon.”