Hyderabad: The Andhra Pradesh government has earned Rs.991 crore from the global e-auction for sale and export of 3,615 metric tonnes of confiscated red sanders logs, officials said.
The week-long e-auction through the central government's Metal State Trading Corporation (MSTC) e-commerce platform was completed Monday night.
The MSTC will submit list of the highest bidders to the state government, which will then initiate the process of sale and exports.
The successful purchasers, including both Indian and foreigners, would have to deposit 25 percent of the sale amount in 10 days and the remaining 75 percent in 30 days. The exports have to be completed within 90 days of confirmation of the sale.
The e-auction received huge response from the global buyers as average price exceed the expected Rs.25 lakh per tonne.
The forest officials were expecting Rs.1,000 crore from sale of 4,160 tonnes of red sanders logs, categorized as A, B and C grades.
Though the Director General of Foreign Trade had given permission for sale of 8,584 tonnes, the state government decided to put only 4,160 tonnes for sale and export in the first phase. The remaining red sander is expected to be sold in the second phase.
According to Andhra Pradesh Forest Department Principal Chief Conservator of Forests A.V. Joseph, they have permission to sell and export the wood by April 30 next year.
The state plans to use 30 percent of the proceeds from the sales for protection of the natural red sander forest. The remaining money may be used to finance the government's scheme to waive farm loans.
The state government had conducted road shows and pre-bid meetings in China and Japan, where the wood has huge demand.
Following this, over 400 prospective buyers including 140 from China, Japan, Singapore and other countries visited the red sanders depots.
Classified as endangered in International Union for Conservation of Nature's red list, red sanders fetches Rs.25 lakh per tonne in the international market. It is mainly used in aphrodisiac drugs and for making musical instruments and furniture.
In Andhra Pradesh, red sanders grow mainly in the Seshachalam hill ranges spread across Kadapa, Chittoor and Kurnool districts in the Rayalaseema region and parts of Nellore district. The area under red sanders is estimated to be 4.67 lakh hectares.
The forests in recent months witnessed bloody clashes between red sander smugglers and police. In May this year, police gunned down three red sander smugglers in Chittoor district.
Two forest officials were killed and three were injured in the attack by the red sander smugglers in the same district in December last year.
Over 3,000 smugglers were arrested and 2,025 tonnes of red sander was seized during 2013.
Meanwhile, police seized red sanders worth Rs.40 lakh in Chittoor district Tuesday morning. In another incident, 48 red sanders logs were recovered from a vehicle in Prakasam district.