Indian officials invite Chinese buyers for Red Sanders auction

China may buy large stocks of Red Sanders from Andhra Pradesh after a team of officials from the state aggressively campaigned among Chinese buyers for the auction of the endangered plant next month.

PTI| Last Updated: Sep 20, 2014, 18:45 PM IST

Beijing: China may buy large stocks of Red Sanders from Andhra Pradesh after a team of officials from the state aggressively campaigned among Chinese buyers for the auction of the endangered plant next month.

A three-member delegation of forest officials met about 100 prospective Chinese buyers yesterday and invited them to take part in e-tender and e-auction of 8500 metric tonnes of the rare wood seized from the smugglers in the last few years.

"We are enthused by the response and hopefully they all take part in the e-tender and e-auction to be held on October 8," P K Jha, Additional Chief Conservator of Forests told.

The delegation also visited Xianyu, China's wholesale furniture market city and received good response.

Andhra Pradesh has about 10,000 metric tonnes of seized Red Sanders wood also known as Red Sandalwood which is only found in Tirupathi spreading around Chitttoor and Kadapa districts.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, whose permission is mandatory for any sale of the endangered plant, has permitted Andhra government to export 8500 metric tonnes, Jha said.

Since it is a rare plant not grown anywhere else in the world there is a big push by smugglers to take cut sizable amounts of it to export, he said.

The wood has a huge demand in China and Japan for auspicious purposes.

In China it is associated with good luck and charm. It is believed to have been used by several Chinese royal dynasties earlier for auspicious decoration.

Many middle and upper middle class Chinese are fond of Red Sanders furniture for both prestige and good luck.

Japan may also be interested in buying large stocks of the plant as there is a great demand for it there. In Japan a musical instrument made of Red Sanders is considered as an auspicious gift to newly wed couples.

The Andhra Pradesh government has decided to go for public auctions and tenders to counter smuggling rings, which included smuggler gangs from Tamil Nadu.

If the auction sale goes well the new state could get over Rs. 1000 crore which could contribute its rebuilding, the officials said.