For the first time, govt auctions red sanders seized from smugglers

In a first for the state, the forest department auctioned red sanders wood they had seized from smugglers on November 22 in Bengaluru.

Of the 130 tonnes of red sanders, around 52 tonnes, worth Rs 6.46 crore, was auctioned on a single day. The wood - seized by the police, forest mobile squads and forest cell of the CID - were kept in the forest department's storehouses at various places in the state.

The auction has been a long drawn-out process for the forest department, starting from getting court approval to framing rules, grading the quality of the red sanders, getting permission from the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species, which regulates international trade and obtaining clearances from the directorate general of foreign trade to export the wood.

"We took precautions this time, securing an export licence in the name of the forest department so that purchasing red sanders will be hassle free for international traders," said Brijesh Kumar Dikshit, additional chief conservator of forests (forest resource management).

The auction opened up a source of revenue for the forest department. The one-day auction, for instance, fetched more revenue than commercial harvests through the year and bested the previous all-time record of Rs 5.53 crore in the financial year 2012-13, Dikshit added.

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