[Answered] What are the measures taken by the government to handle the Red Sanders smuggling? Why the smuggling continues even after several measures?

Introduction: Contextual introduction.

Body: Explain some measures taken by the government to handle the Red Sanders smuggling. Also explain why the smuggling continues even after several measures.

Conclusion: Write a way forward.

Red Sanders or red sandalwood is an endemic tree species with distribution restricted to the Eastern Ghats of India. The species found in Andhra Pradesh and growing up to a height of 10 to 15 metres is reported to be one of India’s most exploited tree species, and is under severe pressure from illegal logging and harvesting.

The following measures are taken by the government to handle the Red Sanders smuggling:

  • IUCN Red List has put it as Endangered.
  • It has been added in the Wildlife protection act 1972: Schedule IV.
  • It is internationally protected under CITES (convention on international trade in endangered species) Appendix II since 1995.
  • Operation Sesha has been launchedby directorate of revenue intelligence (DRI) by involving 17 countries.
  • In 2014, Andhra Pradesh government formed RSATSF (Red-Sanders Anti-Smuggling Task-Force).
  • Directorate of Revenue Intelligence(DRI) launched Operation Rakth Chandan.
  • Under the foreign trade policy of India, the import of Red Sanders is prohibited, while export is restricted.

Why the smuggling continues even after several measures? 

  • Its heartwood is in demand in both domestic and international markets and is used to make furniture and handicrafts, while the red dye obtained from the wood is used as a colouring agent in textiles and medicines.
  • Its rich hue and therapeutic properties are responsible for its high demand across Asia, particularly China, for use in cosmetics and high-end woodcraft.
  • Red sandalwood is both rare and valued at exorbitantly high rates in the international market, making it a hot commodity for smugglers operating from states bordering Andhra Pradesh. In China, Hong Kong and Pacific Rim countries, one ton of red sandalwood fetches up to Rs 10 crore.
  • The Andhra Pradesh State Biodiversity Board found that smuggled red sandalwood was being used in the production of aphrodisiacs as well as astringent tonics to treat chronic dysentery and diabetes.

Enforcement agencies such as the Forest Department, Customs, Railways, Police, DRI (Directorate of Revenue Intelligence), and Coast Guard must coordinate efforts to curb Red Sanders trafficking by sharing information on hotspots and transit routes and real-time intelligence. Moreover, forests within the species’ geographical range to be declared as “high conservation areas”.

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