New Delhi, Sep 11 (UNI) The Supreme Court today issued notices to the Essential Oil Manufacturers Association (EOMA) on an application filed by the state-owned Karnataka Soaps and Detergents Limited, seeking ban on the participation of private players in the sandalwood industry.
A special bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices Arijit Pasayat and S H Kapadia issued notices on the application of the company alleging that an unholy nexus between sandalwood smugglers, unscrupulous politicians and businessmen was creating shortage of sandalwood trees, particularly in Karnataka, which is the main sandalwood producing state in the country.
According to the application, 100 sandalwood trees have to be felled in order to procure 35 to 40 litres of sandalwood oil and its price is Rs 72,000 per litre.
The application also mentioned the name of sandalwood smuggler Veerappan, who was killed in an encounter in 2004.
PSU of the Karnataka government also submitted that it was forced to close down one of its two units due to the shortage of sandalwood, resulting from large-scale smuggling of sandalwood to known sandalwood producing states like Madhya Pradesh and Haryana, which have been issuing no objection certificates to private business for getting sandalwood from other states . These businessmen get licenses for smaller quantities but illegally carry large quantities of sandalwood in connivance with forest officials and politicians.
The application also prayed to the apex court not to permit private parties/companies to participate in import and export of sandalwood products.
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