Members across party lines support National Jute Bill

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New Delhi, Oct 21 (UNI) Lok Sabha members cutting across party lines today came out in support of the National Jute Board Bill, 2006, which was moved by Textiles Minister Shankersinh Vaghela.

They were unanimous in emphasising that use of jute products should be promoted and that of plastic bags be minimised.

Participating in the discussion, Mr Santasri Chatterjee, CPI-M, said a national jute policy was long overdue and welcomed the initiative even if it came at the fag end of the present Lok Sabha.

Stressing that jute was an important contributor to West Bengal's economy, he said four million farmers were involved in its cultivation, while 2.6 lakh industrial workers were dependent on it for processing, dyeing and others and another four lakh in the tertiary sector for giving shape to various products.

He, however, criticised the Government for showing lack of political will to serve the interests of the farmers. He said as part of the Standing Committee on Textiles and Labour, he had visited the jute growing areas of various states and seen that the farmers were in distress.

Mr B Panda, BJD MP from Orissa, called for more measures to develop manufacturing base in his state. He hoped the Jute policy will help develop necessary infrastructure and facilitate better marketing opportunities.

He said the new law should encourage jute marketing and attack synthetic use.

Stressing that the National Jute Board should act as a facilitator rather than a regulator, Mr Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Congress, said the Bill must include provisions to make use of jute products mandatory. He pointed out that this would benefit the 42 lakh farmers involved in this sector.

In view of the proposed Board, he said there was a sense of fear among the employees of the Jute Corporation of India and called upon the Government to mollify their apprehensions.

Mr S K Kaarvendhan, Congress, emphasised the need to make jute products available to public and said plastic bags must be replaced with jute products.

UNI MMG RL AS1836

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