At a meeting here, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu directed that cameras be installed in the areas which have a presence of red sanders, the state government said in a release. A control room, too, will be set up to aid the monitoring, it added.

Naidu also suggested that a consultant be appointed to estimate the amount of red sanders available, calculate the value and suggest ways for using it for future needs.     

During the meeting, officials informed that smuggling in red sanders had come down by 70 percent after some stringent measures were put in place.

While there are 1.4 crore red sandalwood trees in AP, the size of the seized haul of the precious wood stands at 10,500 metric tonnes. The release said that 2,690 metric tonnes of red sandalwood has been auctioned off, bringing revenue of Rs 850 crore to the state.

Meanwhile, 4,000 metric tonnes of pruned red sanders is being readied for auction by February 5. Sawdust, which is obtained from the pruned material, will then be sold.

Naidu suggested that red sandalwood saplings be planted in place of the trees which have been felled. He also asked forest officials to develop nurseries to increase the number of saplings to 50 crore in AP.

He said the government should take up contour trenching around forests and monitor smugglers' operations.

Red sanders or red sandalwood is a rare tree native mainly to the Chittoor and Kadapa districts of Andhra Pradesh. The wood has a high demand in several countries and its smuggling is rampant.

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