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The Jalahalli police, arrested two persons and recovered 30 kg of red sanders (Pterocarpus santalinus) from them.
- Based on a tip-off, a team of police intercepted Tabrez Khan, 24, and his associate Basheeruddin, 53, at HMT ground near ISRO quarters while they were allegedly waiting for a customer to hand over the consignment.
- The duo were allegedly caught near Karnataka forest with samples of red sanders.
- Red sanders known for its rich hue and therapeutic properties, is high in demand across Asia, particularly in China and Japan, for use in cosmetics and medicinal products as well as for making furniture, woodcraft and musical instruments.
- Its popularity can be gauged from the fact that a tonne of red sanders costs anything between Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore in the international market.
- The Scientific name is Pterocarpus santalinus and the common names were Red Sandalwood, Almug, Red Sanders, Saunderswood.
- IUCN status now reclassified as ‘Near Threatened” from its earlier endangered in 1997. This is the first time, that red sanders have been shifted to better conserved category.
- It is found in dry deciduous forests.
- Distribution: It is an Indian endemic tree species, having a restricted geographic range in the Eastern Ghats in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
- Around 90% of the red sanders is found in the Palakonda and Seshachalam hill ranges of Cuddapha-Chittoor Districts of Andhra Pradesh.
- Red sanders would fetch huge prices in the International market for its use in making luxury products, musical instruments and medicine.
- Red sanders smuggling is rampant due to its huge demand in China, Japan and South-East Asia for medicine, dye-making and manufacturing furniture, musical instruments, chess-sets.
- The tree is endemic to several districts in Andhra Pradesh and some parts of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. But overexploitation make the condition worse.
Steps taken by the Governments:
- It is internationally protected under CITES (convention on international trade in endangered species) Appendix II since 1995.
- Export of red sanders was prohibited in 2004.
- In 2010, when the CITES was planning to suspend trade of red sanders obtained from India, the government submitted a Non-Detriment Finding (NDF) report saying it must be allowed to export from cultivated sources.
- So, in 2012, India got an export quota on red sanders from CITES, under which the country could export 310 tonnes of red sanders obtained from “artificially propagated” sources (grown on farms) and 11,806 tonnes of wood from seized sources.
- In 2014, AP government formed RSATSF (Red-Sanders Anti-Smuggling Task-Force).
- “Operation Sesha” has been launched by directorate of revenue intelligence (DRI) by involving 17 countries.
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