A.P. given permission to sell 8,400 MT in global market. The sources said the seized logs would be auctioned in two phases and the entire process would be completed in two or three months. The auctioning-cum-tendering system would be initiated in the next few weeks.

Andhra Pradesh Government is expected to get around Rs.1600 crore by auctioning seized logs of precious red sanders in international market by calling for global tenders.

Official sources told The Hindu here on Friday that Andhra Pradesh was accorded permission to sell 8,400 metric tonnes in the open market by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. The Union Government also got the clearance from the International Union for Conservation of Nature since red sanders was on its endangered list. The State government also obtained mandatory permission from Director-General of Foreign Trade.

The sources said the seized logs would be auctioned in two phases and the entire process would be completed in two or three months. The auctioning-cum-tendering system would be initiated in the next few weeks.

The sources said auctioning by Tamil Nadu government in the recent past in international market fetched Rs.10 lakh per metric tonne. However, Andhra Pradesh was expecting much higher amount, the sources added. Although Andhra Pradesh had auctioned the precious wood in 2008, the items were value added at that time. But now seized logs were being auctioned and that would give scope for the buyer to fashion them according to their requirements and this would naturally fetch higher prices.

The sources said only around three to five per cent of the red sanders found in an area of 5,000 sq. km in Chittoor, Kadapa and a few more districts in Andhra Pradesh belonged to grade ‘A’ category. The wood has varied uses, including in the making of musical instruments, furniture and pharma industry.

Meanwhile, the State government is importing through the State Trading Corporation, 250 pump action guns to arm the forest department’s field staff - from forest guard to deputy ranger to combat red sanders smuggling. The guns would be imported from a firm in the United States and would be supplied to the staff in about three months, the sources added.

The Forest Department has already equipped 150 forest field officials with such guns.

The police and forest officials have formed joint task force teams to curb red sanders smuggling. “There is drastic reduction in the incidents of smugglers sneaking into forests and felling trees in the last couple of months” the sources said.