Dibrugarh (Assam): India often envies China’s progress and aspires to lead the show but there are some sectors where it is lagging behind the neighbouring country – the bamboo industry is one of them.
As per 2004 estimates, the size of the Chinese bamboo industry was worth Rs 2,500 crore whereas the Indian bamboo industry stood at Rs 2,043 crore.
As the country gearing for the Lok Sabha elections, the industry holds significance in Assam where bamboo and handicraft are important elements of the economy along with tea, oil and natural gas.
In the small village of Pipaliya in Assam, Bani Gogoi has earned fame for his special furniture and other handicraft product made of bamboo. Bani along with five of his family members make designing handmade bamboo products.
He has also employed 10 people in his workshop. Such is his fame that some people come all the way from cities to buy his products.
The main feature of the products prepared in his workshop is that they are chemical-free. Bani says he does not use any chemical for a long life of the products; he puts bamboo in a tank filled with cow urine and dung instead.
He says that he somehow manages to earn enough to pay his employees but maintains that he could have done better if he had got any support from the government to buy modern tools and machines.
Bani wants to take a loan under Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government’s flagship Mudra scheme for small enterprises. “I visited banks on several occasions but availed nothing,” he says. Governments might have not done any good to his work but social media is helping grow his business.
“We get a major chunk of our orders from social media,” he says.
He is positive about the Modi government at Centre and the Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal’s government in the state but is skeptical to the poll promises being made to them in the election season.
Villagers are of mixed opinion when it comes to the performance of state and central governments.
They are fully aware of every political development taking place not just in Assam but also in the political arena of the national capital. As the political slugfest between the Congress and the BJP intensify, the opinion of people living in this region change.