Rajahmundry: CM N. Chandrababu Naidu’s idea to auction nearly 15,000 metric tonnes of red sanders seized from the smugglers worth Rs 10-20 lakh per tonne in the international market, to raise money to build the state capital has inspired several farmers who have grown red sanders in their private land to offer their trees to him.
Red sanders are largely found in Rayalaseema districts of Kadappa and Chitoor and partly in Nellore and Kurnool in the state and also in parts of China. Under the National Wildlife (protection) Act, curbs are imposed on cutting and selling full grown trees as it is considered to be one of the endangered plant species. Private owners are required to get permission from the principal chief conservator of forests to cut or sell them.
The social forestry authorities distributed several species of saplings including redsanders and sandal wood amongst others at nominal rates to encourage farmers and general public to grow trees.
Trees raised outside Rayalaseema region do not have the same quality by virtue of the soil composition and climate, and are used in making furniture and toys. Villagers say that it is a herculean task to obtain permission from the forest authorities to cut the trees and sell them and they even allege they have to bribe officials to get the permit.
A villager from Jangareddygudem lost two of his red sanders when lightning struck. He made a representation to the CM through Eluru MP M. Venkateswara Rao to come up with a policy. Accordingly, the state government decided to cut and sell the trees and give the money to the owners. The owners in turn will contribute some part of it to build the state capital. However, he was advised to wait.
Meanwhile, West Godavari administration is planning to conduct a survey of red sanders plantation both on government and private land in the district. Some officials propose to form a Red Sanders Society to generate a data base through e-mails on availability of red sanders in the state.
Rajahmundry circle chief conservator of forests B.K. Singh said, "Red sanders grown in areas other than forests have less heartwood needed for making furniture."...