Agartala, July 11 : Rubber planters in Tripura have welcomed the establishment of the rubber thread industry in the outskirts of Agartala.
The industry will consume the entire latex produced by the farmers of the state, for making value added commodities. It has brightened the prospects for the rubber planters, who were practicing shifting cultivation earlier.
This method, locally known as 'jhum' cultivation, used to cause serious soil erosion and other ecological problems, adding to the problems of farmers.
In the absence of a big rubber based industry, only 10 per cent of rubber produced in Tripura was consumed locally. The remaining quantity was sold outside the state and some exported to Bangladesh at a very low price.
"Earlier, farmers used to convert latex into sheets. Then those sheets used to be sold in Agartala and in Kolkata. But ever since, we started buying latex from the farmers, they got two advantages from it. Firstly, the hard work done by them has reduced as compared to sheet making. Besides, cost of making sheets used to exceed their earnings. The price we pay for latex is more than they get from sale of sheets," said T. George Joseph, Executive Director.
Besides, the 20 million rupees unit, set-up using the latest Italian technology, has ushered in new avenues of employment for the local populace of the northeastern state.
The management said that the company decided to set-up the unit in the state, the second largest natural rubber producer in India after Kerala, due to the availability of rubber latex and work force.
The state's Rubber Board has recently identified Tripura as the "second rubber capital of India".
"In India, the textile industry is growing. So it's a win-win game for Tripura as they will get a ready market also," said Prasant NM, head of sales.
The unit is a sister concern of the eminent tobacco and beverage group Dharampal Satyapal Ltd. (DS Group).
India imports an estimated 25000 MT of rubber thread annually. With the garment industry booming in Bangladesh that market will also provide new opportunities. By Pinaki Das