To foster development and utilization of the bamboo resources in Arunachal, Chief Minister Pema Khandu today held a discussion with the officials from Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL), a public sector company that plans to produce bio fuel using bamboo from Arunachal as major raw material.
The Chief Minister agreed to provide full support to the company in sourcing bamboo from Arunachal that would enable cultivation of bamboo on a commercially sustainable basis and would boost rural economy of the state.
He assured to extend the validity of the MoU signed in October 10, 2015 between the company and the Arunachal Pradesh Resources Development Agency (APBRDA) to pave way for sourcing 3 lakh tons of bamboo per year by NRL from the state.
He said that such initiative from NRL would offer a permanent source of revenue generation for bamboo farmers and communities owning vast bamboo groves in the state.
The Chief Minister advised the officials of NRL to conduct awareness camps for bamboo growers and emphasized on skilling in bamboo harvest, processing and storing including equipping them with scientific know-how on growing of bamboo plants.
The meeting also discussed on confusion over legal status of bamboo that faces tussle over whether it is a “tree” or a “grass”. Due to non-cohesive policy on bamboo, the country has been left out in harvesting any benefits though the country is the world’s largest repository of bamboo, particularly the North-eastern states. Taking note of such concern, the Chief Minister assured that the present government would work towards evolving a conducive policy for furtherance of bamboo sectors in Arunachal.
The meeting noted that if bamboo sector is to be developed, then there is a need to create a ‘Bamboo Board’ as an overarching institutional arrangement. The Chief Minister in his response said that the development of bamboo in Arunachal has to migrate from mission mode of research and resource generation to a board mode emphasising that it’s time to have an application approach.
Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein who also participated in the discussion suggested that a committee from North-eastern states could take up the cause for formation of a ‘bamboo board’ at national level, informing that states like Maharashtra have already constituted one. Taking note of apprehensions for non-availability of market and middle men menace, the Dy CM advised the company to provide assurances on market availability for local bamboo producer. He requested the company to provide guarantee in the form of ‘buy back policy’ to the bamboo producer so that the farmer’s do not suffer loss.
Planning Parliamentary Secretary, Zingnu Namchoom suggested the company that proper satellite mapping of area with bamboo must be ascertained to get exact data on it.
NRL officials assuring to carry forward the suggestions given informed that bamboo catchment areas will be identified for primary processing by the communities and assured to set up bamboo processing clusters in the state, which will promote bamboo plantation and processing for value addition. They informed that such local level interventions would discourage any middlemen misadventure where the company will be directly present at the door step of the farmers.
Also participating in the discussion, the founder and Executive Director of South Asia Bamboo Foundation, Kamesh Shalam gave a presentation on ‘strategy framework for bamboo feed stock supply chain development for a Bio Refinery Project’.