VISAKHAPATNAM: Despite being under the judicial scanner and facing backlash from rights activists and Tamil Nadu political leaders over the alleged extra-judicial killing of 20 red sanders smugglers in Seshachalam forests recently, the state government seems to have a reason to smile. The AP Forest Development Corporation (APFDC) has successfully exported the first consignment of red sanders to China and Hong Kong through Krishnapatnam Port Wednesday.
About 31,474 logs of red sanders, weighing about 727 metric tonne (MT), were stuffed into 79 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) or containers and loaded into carrier mv Safmarine Meru. The ship left Krishanpatnam for Shanghai and Hong Kong. The assignment was carried out by the Vizag-based M/s Sravan Shipping Services Private Limited which was awarded by the APFDC as its clearing and forwarding agents. The consignment will be handled by Shanghai Furen Imports and Exports Company Limited in China and Yongjunli Trade Company Limited in Hong Kong, the shipping company sources said.
The red sanders has huge demand abroad, especially in China and Japan, where it commands a good price. The wood is used in traditional medicines, particularly aphrodisiac, and woodcraft across China, Myanmar, Japan and East Asia. But it is available only in the Seshachalam forests of Andhra Pradesh and the tree is listed among the endangered species.
According to sources, the consignment largely comprised red sanders logs of C-grade which fetched about Rs 15.15 lakh per MT during the recent global e-auction by the state government in December last year. The e-auction fetched about Rs 991 crore for the state government on the sale of 4,160 MT of red sanders. The red sanders logs of A-grade fetched a price Rs 1.95 crore per MT, the price for B-grade ranged from Rs 1.55 crore to Rs 48.45 lakh per MT, while it was in the range of Rs 40.72 lakh to Rs 15.15 lakh per MT for C-grade.
“This precious commodity can earn good foreign exchange for the country besides helping the cash-strapped AP government in pooling good revenue to finance its projects. However, due to delay in their sale, the quality of the logs is degrading and earning less income,” said an official at the APFDC. The state government is gearing up for another round of e-auction likely in May.