"The Centre has now given permission for the sale of red sanders. Accordingly, we will issue a notification for sale of 4,000 tonnes of red sanders through global tenders in the first phase," state Forest Minister Bojjala Gopalakrishna Reddy told reporters here this afternoon.
Red sanders is widely grown in Chittoor, Kadapa and Nellore districts of AP but its sale is controlled by the Government of India.
In the last few years the Centre did not clear sale of red sanders, though there is huge demand in China and other overseas market, resulting in illegal export. In the absence of an official sale route, a wide smuggling network started thriving and has become a major law and order menace in Chittoor and other districts.
Over 8,500 tonnes of seized red sanders is readily available for sale in the international market. Based on the state government's request, the Centre permitted sale of 4,000 tonnes in the first phase.
Though the minister did not disclose the possible revenue accrual through sale of red sanders, Forest Department estimates that a sum of Rs 1,000 crore could be earned initially.
"Each tonne of red sanders commands a price of Rs 25 lakh in the international market," a senior official of the department pointed out. The state government would seek Centre's nod for disposal of remaining stock after a few months.