Tripura’s rubber plantation plays multiple roles

November 14th, 2007 - 8:06 am ICT by admin  
Nigicherra (Tripura), Oct 30 (ANI): The Tripura Forest Development and Plantation Corporation (TFDPC) –credited with making the small north-eastern Tripura state the second largest rubber producing state in the country after Kerala — not only gives employment to thousands but also helps in reducing pressure on natural forests.

At one time, the forests of the State faced serious problems of degradation, due to illegal felling of trees and the trans-border-smuggling across the 856-km long international border with Bangladesh.

The government realised that enforcement of law alone can not stop the degradation of the vast forest area unless people resist it on there own.

Tripura has a geographical area of 10,490 square kilometers of which 6292 sq. km. (i.e 59.98 percent of the total area) is the forest area.

So, a strategy was formed to make the mass population participate in the development of the forest.

Means were also sought, which could ultimately give some economic benefit to masses with efficient use of the forest resource and providing a variety of valuable services like timber, food and fodder.

Then rubber was found the most suitable plantation, which was not only suitable with the climatic conditions of the State, but also gives high returns and at the same time can be later used as a substitute for timber.

The TFDPC, a Public Sector Undertaking, was established in 1976 with equity participation from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.

The corporation was mandated for development of forests through plantations and economic upliftment of weaker sections, especially the tribals of the State.

Its main objective was to carry out business in rubber cultivation, processing and promotion of rubber based industries, followed by bamboo based industries.

Today, the corporation is a social sector organisation, engaged in creating livelihood for more than 7,000 tribal people and is the first in the country to develop a model for permanent settlement of tribal shifting cultivators.

Around 3,300 families, which earn rupees 10,000 to 15,000 every month, have been settled in one hectare of rubber plantation.

The corporation is producing world class furnitures using rubber wood.

With the aid from Ministry of Commerce, TFDPC is installing machineries for a dual manufacturing rubber wood factory. The machineries have helped not only in improving the quality of the products, but also check wastage of timber.

Kalipada Sutradhar, a carpenter, said “I am working for the last 4-5 years. The wood is of very high quality and fine finishing can be given to the products. Since the wood is medicinally boiled, so question of termite does not arise.”

“We work with highly sophisticated automatic machine and so human labour is comparatively less. Another advantage here is that we get work on a regular basis and so income is more,” Sutradhar added.

To enhance the skills of existing human resources, TFDPC has not only imparted training about sophisticated machineries imported from China and Taiwan to 300 budding carpenter, but also given them permanent employment.

Pradip Dey, another carpenter, said: “Here we mainly work with machines, though the final finishing is given by hand. Now we are producing better and quality products.”

TFDPC has emerged as the lone profit-making Corporation of the State government, giving dividends over the past three years consistently.

Experiencing the profit in rubber, the State government has formulated the Tripura Rubber Mission under which 21,547 hectares of land shall come under rubber plantation in next 20 years.

Apart from this, TFDPC has started the profit-making TFDPC Industrial Estate and TFDPC Timber Treatment Plant at Nagicherra which has added new dimension to state-sponsored entrepreneurship. (ANI)

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