Staff Reporter

Bangalore: Do you have sandalwood trees growing in your premises and want to know much they are worth? Or would like to get permission to fell it? Are you looking for measures to protect the trees from poachers?

These questions and many more will be answered by the “sandal helpline” which has been launched by the State Forest Department.

The helpline 080-23346846 has been launched to give growers of sandalwood information on how to grow, sell and protect the precious wood from poachers. The sandalwood helpline, which at present is meant only for Bangalore city, will soon be extended to all other districts in the State, M. Muni Reddy, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Forest Resource Management), told reporters on Saturday.

R.K Srivastav, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Bangalore Urban Division, said that the helpline was intended to encourage people to grow and protect sandalwood and to create awareness about it.

“For instance growers need to know about the rates for sandal and which public sector undertakings they can sell to,” Mr. Srivastav said.

In order to augment the production of sandalwood in the State and bridge the demand-supply gap, the Forest Department was looking at encouraging people to grow sandal in public spaces, he said.

Special arrangements will be made to give the scented wood round-the-clock protection in sandalwood-rich districts in the State such as Haveri, Dharwad, Shimoga and Mysore, said Mr. Muni Reddy.