The birds were abandoned by firms involved in contract farming scam

The Erode district administration is scouting for buyers in Andhra Pradesh for hundreds of emus that were abandoned by firms involved in the contract farming scam.

Officials are busy contacting livestock traders in the neighbouring State, where there is some demand left for the meat of the flightless birds that are native to Australia.

Authorities have contacted more than 50 traders via email and planned to advertise in local language dailies in Andhra Pradesh to attract more traders to participate in the upcoming auctions to sell the emus.

In the previous auction held in March, only five traders participated. Of them, three were from Andhra Pradesh. The birds that were once claimed to fetch Rs. 20,000 each, were sold for Rs.1,350 at the auction.

“We want more traders to participate in the upcoming auctions as we have a large number of birds to sell. The increased participation will fetch higher prices for the birds,” District Revenue Officer S. Ganesh said.

The officials are contacting the traders directly and also through email.

The administration had taken over 10,000 birds under its maintenance after they were abandoned by the promoters of private emu firms in August last year when the scam came to light. Of them, about 7,000 birds belong to Susi Emu Farms and 2,000 to Queen Emu Farms.

The birds were kept at eight different places in the district and the Revenue Department along with officials from the Animal Husbandry is taking care of the birds.

A little over 1,900 birds of the Perundurai-based Queen Emu Farms will be up for sale in the next auction along with 415 birds belonging to Gobichettipalayam-based NS Agro Farms and Hatcheries.

Auctions are being conducted based on the directions of the special court for Tamil Nadu Protection of Interests of Depositors (in Financial establishments) Act in Coimbatore. The revenue from the auction will be deposited with the special court and later distributed to investors.

Police sources said emu promoters, who promised staggering returns for the investment made in the contract farming of emus and lured thousands of people to join their get-rich-quick schemes, swindled over Rs. 500 crore.

More In: Tamil Nadu | National