“Around 35 per cent of the area under bamboo is in the North Eastern States. However, this potential of Bamboo for North Eastern Region is not being fully utilized due to restrictions in movement of Bamboo under Indian Forest Act, 1927,” he said during a review meeting of DoNER Ministry.
Presiding over a high-level meeting of the Ministry, Singh said that three Bamboo Clusters will be developed in Jammu, Katra and Samba areas for making of Bamboo basketry, Agarbatti and Bamboo Charcoal which will provide direct employment opportunities to about 25,000 people and an MoU in this regard is at the final stage.
The Minister said that the sensitivity with which the Modi government views the importance for the promotion of Bamboo is evident from the fact that it has amended the century-old Indian Forest Act by taking homegrown bamboo out of the purview of the Forest Act, in order to enhance livelihood opportunities through bamboo.
“Another major reform was to increase the import duty on bamboo sticks from 10 per cent to 25 per cent,” he said.
“This decision has paved the way for setting up of new Agarbatti stick manufacturing units to meet the ever-growing demand of Agarbatti in India,” he added.
“There has been no import of raw batti since September 2019 and local bamboo produce is being used for this,” the DoNER minister further said.
Singh disclosed that there are huge reserves of bamboo spread across Jammu & Kashmir, which have remained unexplored and largely unutilised.
He said that as part of the initiatives taken at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to replicate good practices of all ministries in the newly created Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the North Eastern Council, Ministry of DoNER through Cane and Bamboo Technology Centre (CBTC) also took itself the technical know-how and experience in the field of Bamboo Sector in Jammu & Kashmir in the form of Workshop cum Exhibition in January this year and it will be organized throughout the country after COVID-19.