A 114-year-old teak tree planted by the British at the Nilambur teak plantation here fetched a record price of close to Rs 40 lakh when it was auctioned off recently, the Forest department has said.
The tree, planted in 1909, was collected by the department after it dried up and fell on its own in the preservation plot.
The teak trees in the preservation plots are collected only after they fall on their own, a forest official said.
Thereafter, it was put up for auction at the Nedumkayam Forest Depot and was won, in a tightly contested bidding war, by Vrindavan Timbers owner, Ajeesh Kumar for the final price of Rs 39.25 lakh on February 10.
The 8 cubic meter thick wood was auctioned in three pieces.
The main piece, which measured more than 3 meters in length, fetched Rs 23 lakh and the remaining two pieces of the same tree went for Rs 11 lakh and Rs 5.25 lakh, respectively.
Nedumkayam depot officer Shereef P, sharing his happiness over the record price fetched by the tree, said the department had expected a high price but not to this extent.
“We are very happy to say this. In an area planted by the British in 1909 and kept as a preservation plot by the Kerala forest, we collected a tree which had 8 cubic metres of wood. In that the biggest piece, one of the best woods we have got in the depot so far, has fetched the best price. It is a very happy moment for us.
“The main thing is that the Nilambur Teak has got a new benchmark with that price. Nilambur Teak is an international brand. It was developed into that status over several years. The historical importance, if we say, is that in the whole world, teak plantation was first done in Nilambur,” the official said.
The official said that the winning bidder — Vrindavan Timbers from Thiruvananthapuram — was a regular participant in the bids there and a major client in purchase of quality wood.
“He can also be happy that he could get such good quality wood as there was very stiff competition in the bid. Now chances are rare to get such a wood, a single piece measuring over 3 metres,” he said.
Mr Kumar, meanwhile, said, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone, especially the staff of Kerala Forest Department.” He had to pay an additional Rs 15,000 towards loading the wood onto the lorry to transport it to Thiruvananthapuram.
Many locals had come to witness loading of this rare piece of wood that fetched a record price.
Nilambur boasts of the world’s oldest teak plantation, Conolly Plot, named after the former British Collector to Malabar, H V Conolly.
It also has a teak museum and houses the world’s oldest teak, named ‘Kannimari’. The teak plantations here are spread across 2.31 hectares in Nilambur.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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