The 47 tonnes of sandalwood stored at the collection centre of the forest department in Marayur will be placed for auction on October 14. This includes five tonnes of sandalwood grown in the private patta land and another five tonnes which could not be sold in the auction held in November last year.

The fallen tree and dry sandalwood trunks collected from the reservoir areas and the stolen sandalwood seized from the smugglers will also be placed for auction, forest range officer R. Shivaprasad said on Saturday.

The auction is held in the wake of low demand shown by the cosmetic industries in North India, the major buyers of sandalwood. According to sources, there is a low presence of sandalwood with north Indian traders. “This was evident from the auction held by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department at Salem recently, which placed 150 tonnes of sandalwood but only 12 tonnes could be auctioned,'' said official sources and added, that due to the popularity of Marayur sandal among the traders, the trend is expected to change. The main participants at the Salam auction were Tirumala and Tirupati temple authorities.

At the Marayur auction, the authorities hope that the major participants would be the representatives of major temples in Kerala and extracting units.

“Only when there is high demand by the cosmetic industries will sandalwood auctions be highly competitive. However, the prevailing trend shows that there is not much demand from them,'' said the sources.

The Forest Department has given high publicity to the auction with an expectation that more traders from North India and new buyers will participate.

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