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Cash-strapped AP govt to disturb ecology for revenue?

Cash-strapped AP govt to disturb ecology for revenue?
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Cash-Strapped AP Govt To Disturb Ecology For Revenue. The cash-strapped Andhra Pradesh government wants the Centre to lift the ban on felling and sale of the red sanders trees which is in vogue since 2000 and have been put on endangered list.

The cash-strapped Andhra Pradesh government wants the Centre to lift the ban on felling and sale of the red sanders trees which is in vogue since 2000 and have been put on endangered list. Now, every time the government has to e-auction the red sanders wood, it has to procure Environmental permission from the Ministry.

Amidst protests from the environmental groups the state government has written to the Union forests ministry for removing red sanders from the endangered list. AP Government is also under fire for killing 20 wood cutters in n encounter at the Seshachalam forests near Tirumala.

AP environment and forests minister Bojjala Gopalakrishna Reddy confirms that the state government has commenced paper works to get the red sanders wood removed from the endangered species list and also seeking withdrawal of the ban on felling of the red sanders trees.

Red sanders was placed on the endangered list by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in 1995. The International Union for Conservation of Nature seconded CITES resolution two years later. The AP government declared the wood endangered in 2000 after the Center's recommendation on the grounds that the species faced threat of extinction. .

But AP has now done a U-turn arguing that the precious red sanders crop should be allowed to be harvested and sold by the state government instead of allowing it to be domain of the smugglers operating from all three states–AP, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

The TDP emphasizes that the precious wood is available in the Seshachalam forests in an area of about 5,500 sq km and there are 1.4 crore red sanders trees.

Environmentalists are crying foul that Government is keen on generating revenue at the cost of environment and protection of endangered red sanders. “How can red sanders be reduced to a commercial property,“ KS Gopal, director for Center for Environment Concerns (CES) said in an interview with a newspaper.

The AP government has estimated that the annual requirement of red sanders in the international market is about 3,000 tonnes. Having auctioned the top quality of the wood for Rs 1.5 crore per tonne recently, the government is keen to make red sanders into a money-spinner. First round of auction of 4500 tonnes early this year has fetched the government Rs.1000 crore. The AP government claims that it has another 8500 tonnes of seized red sanders wood.


The second round of auctioning 4,500 tonnes of logs is slated for May this year for which the Government has already set in motion administrative process at the Ministry seeking exemption from the CITES. The Centre will have to first ratify the state government's request for removing red sanders from the endangered list before the two international organisations put their seal on it.

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