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No Bidders from Temples for Two-day Sandalwood Auction

Published: 25th May 2015 06:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th May 2015 06:03 AM   |  A+A-

IDUKKI:The two-day online auction for sandalwood had been on at Marayoor, and the absence of bidders from temples has raised suspicion on the way temples have been procuring sandalwood for their use, according to a top Forest official.

There are over 2000 temples in the state, and each temple using 10 kg of sandalwood  would make a total of 20 tonnes annually.

How the temples manage to get enough sandalwood for their daily uses such as making sandal pastes etc. if they do not get it from the Forest Department auctions is a matter of intrigue, the forest official said. This only encourages thriving of grey market in sandalwood poaching in Marayoor, he said.

According to reports, Sree Krishna temple from Guruvayoor procured five tonnes of sandalwood on special provisions offered by the state government and not through the online trading held by the Forest Department on Wednesday and Thursday.

The temple paid an excess price of 146 percent and tax over the normal auction price, the reports said.

Four temples had, however, taken part in the first online trading held in February this year. Non-participation of the temples in the auction could be due to huge competition expected from bidders across the country or might be the technological coyness in spite of the training given to them, the official said.

No Buyers for Sap Wood

The sap wood, used exclusively for making sandal paste, remained unsold at the two-day auction.

However, the Forest Department has announced that anyone keeping sandalwood without proper documents will be prosecuted under Section 44 of the Forest Act. And, similarly, growing sandalwood and selling it without the knowledge of Forest officials are prohibited by law.

Buyers Keep Away

■ According to reports, Sree Krishna temple from Guruvayoor procured five tonnes of sandalwood on special provisions offered by the government and not through the online trading held on Wednesday and Thursday.

■ Non-participation of the temples in the auction could be due to huge competition expected from bidders across the country or might be the technological coyness in spite of the training given to them, an official said.

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