Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala government today claimed it has succeeded in containing sandalwood theft from the natural forests in Marayour in Idukki district by implementing stringent protection measures.
Illegal felling of sandalwood trees, which was as high as 2660 in 2004, has come down to 41 trees as of today, State Forest Minister Binoy Viswam told reporters here.
To strengthen protection measures of the state`s natural wealth, a trained dog squad would be deployed in the 61-sq km area where more than 58,000 sandalwood trees exist now, Viswam said.
The Minister said the steps for setting up a sandalwood oil extraction unit in public sector is in progress and would be a reality by next year.
The Kerala Forest Development Corporation has been entrusted with the task of opening the factory and the corporation had already submitted to government a detailed project report, he said.