One lakh rubber saplings to be planted in Tripura

Chennai, Jan 19 (PTI) With the rubber plantation inKerala getting saturated, it has been decided to plant onelakh saplings in North East India, a top official of All IndiaRubber Industries Association (AIRIA) said here today.

"Kerala is getting saturated.. and we need to look forother areas. Already saplings were planted in Tripura for50,000 hectares.. now it has been decided to add another onelakh plantations," AIRIA President Vinod Simon said after theinauguration of the sixth edition of India Rubber Expo 2011.

Simon said rubber prices were still "volatile" despitethe government, which was charging 20 per cent as excise duty,reducing it to 7.5 per cent.

Simon attributed it to the prices of natural rubbercontinuing to remain at Rs 225 per kg due to strong globalcues, and added that for the year 2010-11 alone about one lakhtonne of rubber was expected to be the "shortage" with respectto demand and supply.

The AIRIA president said the price of raw material forrubber was increasing continuously and the demand would onlygo up unless the Centre takes "proactive" measures.

Earlier in the day, the Rubber Expo, which is beingorganised by AIRIA, was inaugurated by Maharashtra Governor KSankaranarayanan.

The Governor said with India becoming the fourth largestproducer of natural rubber in the world last year, the needfor the hour is to explore newer areas for rubber production.

"We will have to explore newer areas for rubberproduction, even though productivity in such areas will not beas high as we get in Kerala..", he said.

Sankaranarayanan said the non-availability of labour inrubber plantations was also becoming a major issue in thecountry.

AIRIA should act as a "pressure group" in impressing uponthe Union government about the need to create a level-playingfield with respect to rubber prices in the global arena, hesaid.

Observing that the integration of the Indian rubberindustry with the global market has brought manyopportunities, the Governor said, "We need to put emphasis onin-house Research and Development and collaboration withresearch institutes." PTI VIJ ARPARP01191735

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