China claims the wood is used to make musical instruments, but officials differ
The strong belief of Andhra Pradesh Government that smuggled red-sanders wood, a rare species with a heavy trunk darting into the skies which is no where sighted in the world except in the forests of Kadapa district in the State, is used by China for making musical instruments and furniture is found to be wrong.
According to feedback available with AP State Biodiversity Board (APSBB), the cut pieces of red-sanders, smuggled out from the forests regularly hoodwinking the forest staff, is found to have been used for atomic energy projects instead and for making a Viagra-like drug.
Dr R. Hampaiah, chairman, APSBB, ruled out the possibility of any one using the red-sanders for musical instruments or furniture as it was not too heavy and hard and would break easily. It was light weight wood which would be used to make musical instruments as it would aid/enhance the sound.
At a media conference held on Thursday to brief about the forthcoming international biodiversity conference being conducted here from October 1 to 19, he said the red-sanders commanded a high price of Rs. 10 crore per tonne in China.
The interest shown by smugglers on this wood was such that nearly 2,000 Innovas were seized by the forest staff in the recent past while they were being used to transport it. Some people, attired as ‘sadhus’ sneak into the forest on the plea of doing meditation.
He said the issue of China procuring red-sanders illegally would be taken up at the conference to get patent rights, curb its utilisation and claim royalty if used legally.
In case of neem leaves being purchased regularly by Japan traders from Amarchinta in Mahaubnagar district, the APBB intervened and, after negotiations, ensured a price of Rs. 100 per kg (Rs. 20 previously) for villagers.
The traders said they were procuring in large quantities ‘to make a face cream’.
The Japanese, of late, were now showing interest in a creeper “chadarasapu kada” found in Ongole.