UNIDO launches cane and bamboo project for NE

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Guwahati, Apr 10 (UNI) The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation(UNIDO) today launched a special cane and bamboo project for the North East.

According to a release issued here by the Cane and Bamboo Technolgy Centre(CBTC), the project is titled Promoting Livelihood in North Eastern India: The Cane&Bamboo Networking Project.

It was launched by Mani Shankar Aiyar, Minister for DoNER and Chairman, NEC in presence of Dr Kandeh Yumkella, Director General, UNIDO at a function at the UN House, New Delhi, the release said.

Representatives of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Office of the Development Commissioner, Handicrafts, Ministry of Textiles, Government of India were also present on the occasion.

In his keynote address, Dr Yumkella said the Cane&Bamboo Project will be an excellent opportunity to further strengthen the long-term partnership between UNIDO and three Indian partners--the Department of Industrial Policy&Promotion, the Office of the Development Commissioner, Handicrafts, Ministry of Textiles and the North Eastern Council.

He added, ''This project on bamboo livelihood development can help to overcome the suffering of North Eastern India by providing jobs in conflict and catastrophe affected areas thereby reducing migration into crowded cities, especially of unskilled young people. One great advantage of bamboo processing is it lends itself to labour-intensive primary processing in rural areas, thus providing valuable employment opportunities in plantations and pre-processing units. Cooperatives and small scale companies can be established with minimum financial outlay or credit needs.'' Earlier, Mr Kamesh Salam, Director, Cane&Bamboo Technology Centre(CBTC) made a presentation on Phase I of the Project. Phase I commenced with the creation of CBTC which has proven to be a successful partner in matters of national and international bamboo development. NEC has appointed CBTC as the implementation wing of North Eastern Regional Bamboo Mission with focus on employment generation, economic competitiveness and sound ecology.

Mr R.K. Falguni, Secretary NEC dealt with the outline of Phase II of the Project. He stated that Phase II aimed at poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability by initiating programmes that contribute to economic empowerment, particularly among the most disadvantaged areas of the country.

It also lays stress on training for disadvantaged groups, especially women, thereby empowering them with technical and entrepreneurial skills to increase their access to services and markets. He announced that the Project would be implemented over a period of four years with an estimated project cost of USD 2.31 million which will be contributed by DIPP, NEC, DC(H) and UNIDO.

India is the second richest country in terms of bamboo genetic diversity, next only to China. Out of the total bamboo plantation area in the country, nearly 28 per cent occur in the North Eastern States. Hence, there is no doubt that this Project will play a crucial role in changing the social-economic scenario of the region.

Mr Ajay Shankar, Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion Mr P.P. Shrivastav, Member, NEC; and Mr N.N. Prasad, Joint Secretary, DIPP were among others present at the launch.

UNI MT PL SS1126

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