DoNER minister Jitendra Singh has urged the Cane and Bamboo Technology Centre (CBTC) to explore the possibilities of setting up vocational training and skill development centres for the bamboo sector for its full exploitation, branding, packaging and marketing in India and abroad.

Chairing a virtual meeting of the Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) ministry on Thursday, the minister said, “The CBTC in coordination with the National Bamboo Mission will work in this direction to boost the bamboo economy in the north-eastern region.”

Singh said the skill centres, once established, will propel the bamboo industry with new start-ups and also enhance livelihood opportunities.

Welcoming the decisions of the Central government to ban the import of finished products and raising the import duty by 25 per cent on raw bamboo items, the minister said such measures will help the domestic bamboo industries including those involved in agarbatti (incense sticks) making in a big way.

“The bamboo sector can become the main pillar of ecological, medicinal, paper and building sectors in India,” Singh said.

Singh said a total of 10 commercially important species of bamboo have been identified in the northeast region and the states will take up plantation of these new species on a large scale.

“Moreover, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Mizoram have been found suitable for Moso Bamboo cultivation widely used in the Agarbatti industry,” he said directing the North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Limited (NEDFi) to undertake a comprehensive study in coordination with other stakeholders and identify project profiles at the earliest.

Singh reiterated that the bamboo sector will be one of the important components of India’s post-Covid economy and a vital pillar of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan in the north-eastern region.

Underlining the unexpected potentials of the bamboo sector, he said the present government has the capacity and the will to unlock its potential to the highest level as 40 per cent of all bamboo resources lie in the north-eastern region of the country.

“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 Forest Act by taking homegrown bamboo out of the purview of the Forest Act, in order to enhance livelihood opportunities through bamboo,” Singh said.

DoNER secretary Dr Inderjit Singh, special secretary Indevar Pandey, North East Council secretary Moses K Chalai and other senior officers of the department attended the meet.

DAMIEN LEPCHA

Damien Lepcha is Northeast Now Correspondent in Arunachal Pradesh. He can be reached at: lepcharaul@gmail.com