Why in News?
- Smuggling of red sanders from the forests of Andhra Pradesh has once again become rampant as smugglers have opened a new route through Kadapa district.
- The traditional route of smugglers used to be from Chittoor and Nellore districts of Andhra Pradesh to Chennai port.
- From Chennai port, the wood used to be transported to Southeast Asia.
- Smugglers are now targeting the red sandalwood forests in the Palakonda hills of Kadapa and Anantapur districts.
- The logs are then smuggled via Anantapur to Bengaluruand and from there to Chennai port.
Smuggling of Red Sanders
- Smugglers bring woodcutters in the guise of construction labourers and put them up at cheap lodges in Kadapa.
- They are then taken into the forests in groups where they fell the trees for five-ten days and deliver the logs to the smugglers.
- These logs are now being transported from Kadapa via Bengaluru rather than via Tamil Nadu which was the case earlier.
- Whether the logs are smuggled from Chittoor and Nellore or from Kadapa via Bengaluru, they are ending up at Chennai or Tuticorin port.
- In 2016-17, the Chennai Zonal Unit of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence seized 50,000 tonnes of red sanders.
Red Sanders Anti Smuggling Task Force
- Andhra Pradesh Red Sanders Anti-Smuggling Task Force was set up in November 2014 with its base in Tirupati.
- It claims to have curbed wood felling and smuggling to some extent in the last two years in Chittoor and Nellore districts.
Red Sanders (Red sandalwood or Saunderswood)
- The scientific name for Red Sanders is Pterocarpussantalinus.
- It is a tree species endemic to South India (hot and dry climate).
- It is valued for its colour.
- It is medicinally, scientifically and ornamentally very important and essential tree.
- It grows in rocky, degraded and fallow land with Red soil.
- It is listed as an Endangered Species by the IUCN because of overexploitation of its timber in South India.
- It is also listed in the appendix II of the CITES which means that a certificate is required in order to export it.
- Certificate is granted only if the trade is not detrimental to the survival of the species.