NE will emerge as natural rubber production hub: Piyush Goyal

Agartala: Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday said the northeastern region of India can emerge as a hub for natural rubber production, adding the Central government has plans for rubber plantations on two lakh hectares of land in the region in the next five years.

Addressing the investment summit here, Goyal, speaking virtually from Delhi, termed the bamboo as “green gold of forest” said the bamboo cultivation is another major resource in the northeastern region.

He said that four major tyre companies represented by Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association (ATMA) have together keen to invest Rs 1,000 crore for rubber plantation in 200,000 hectare land in the seven states of the region over a period of five years.

The Rubber Board and the ATMA have signed a Memorandum of Understanding in March this year and the participating tyre companies together have already transferred Rs 12 crore to the Rubber Board for procuring planting materials for commencing plantation, the Union Minister said.

Tripura is the second largest producer of natural rubber in the country while new plantation of rubber has been undertaken in 30,000 hectares of land, he said.

The state currently cultivates natural rubber in 87,500 hectares of land and producing 90,000 tonnes of rubber annually.

Goyal said Tripura is home to the largest bamboo flooring unit and the state has the potential to emerge as the country’s hub of Agarbatti industry by supplying bamboo sticks and make India ‘Aatmanirbhar’ on Bamboo.

Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream to transform northeast region into “Ashth Lakshmi” of India by the all round development of the eight states, the Union Minister said that the Prime Minister has accorded priority to the ‘Focus North-East’ programme and the ‘Make in India’ programme has been implemented here as the ‘Make in North-East’ programme.

“A dedicated Northeast Desk has been set up in the central government to improve infrastructure and promote industry.”

Goyal, appreciating the performance and development of Tripura under the leadership of Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, said that the state government has been working tirelessly and giving priority to 3 Ns in administration — Niyat, Niti and Niyam.

Noting that Tripura is the 4th literate state in northeast region, he said that the state has a thriving handlooms industry with 1.36 lakh weavers.

The Minister said that jackfruit from Tripura has been exported to London.

Goyal said that the Centre is encouraging usage of Agro-textiles and Geo-technical textiles in the northeast region through its dedicated schemes.

“With improved connectivity through air, rail, road and waterways, the so called geographical isolation of the state is a thing of the past. The state is an integral part of multimodal connectivity now,” he said.

Goyal said the (under construction) cross-border Agartala-Akhaura (Bangladesh) rail project with an investment of Rs 972 crore would promote exports.

He said: “With Agartala airport emerging as the 2nd busiest airport in the northeast region, Tripura would act as a Gateway to the North East.”

Addressing in the opening session of the two-day summit, Tripura Chief Minister said that the state has already ahead in many sectors in the northeastern region and no one would block its progress as the Centre has come forward with all out support. He said that the state government’s ease of doing business policies facilitate to enthuse to explore the business opportunities of Tripura.

“Earlier the northeast region had always been neglected by the central government’s developmental policies, but since Narendra Modi has become Prime Minister, his total focus is on in the holistic development of the region,” Deb added.

Over a hundred industrialists and representatives of many leading companies and industry bodies from across the country took part in the investment summit called – Destination Tripura — Investment Summit – 2021.