KOCHI: Over 150 tonnes of red sanders seized from smugglers by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) stored in various godowns in the state will be auctioned off by the DRI through a global tendering process.
DRI officers said there are 150 tonnes of red sanders worth over Rs 100 crore in the government godowns. “Through global tendering, we expect major buyers from foreign countries to take part in the auctioning and it will ensure a good price. If indeed the global tendering process is completed successfully, it will bring in a handsome amount to the exchequer,” a DRI officer said.
The red sanders seized in the last 10 years will be auctioned off. “A special notification for auctioning has been issued as there is a ban on export of red sanders. The grading and other procedures as part of the auctioning process will take place soon. A date for submitting the quotation will soon be fixed,” a DRI officer said.
According to the DRI officers, the smuggling of red sanders through ports in Kerala had come down drastically. “Around three years ago, Kerala accounted for three out of every four cases of red sanders smuggling. In 2016, there was no case of red sanders smuggling reported here. In 2015, red sanders was seized from Kochi. It was after a long break, such an incident was reported from Kerala,” he said.
In a majority of the cases, interstate rackets are involved in red sanders smuggling. There had been reports the felling of red sanders takes place in Andra Pradesh with the active support of Maoist ultras. Recently, a high number of cases were reported in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
“The absence of border checks might be a reason for the rise in red sanders smuggling recently. But intelligence agencies are monitoring the situation. This is a reason behind the spurt in cases reported from across the country,” a DRI officer said.