Declare bamboo as priority sector for development: Recommends committee

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 05 Jan 2017 10:12:01

By Ramesh Marulkar,

A committee constituted by the State Government to recommend strengthening of bamboo sector has given stress on Government declaring bamboo sector as a priority sector for development, considering its potential in employment generation and its eco-friendliness.
The committee underlined importance of bamboo sector that has capacity to promote all four concerns - the Four ‘E’s namely economic development, environmental sustainability, equity (that is development of
weaker communities, backward areas) and employment.
Therefore, it wants that the government, banks, corporates, NGOs, co-operatives and philanthropic trusts that are interested in achieving socio-economic development of the State, should frame suitable policies and strategies to strengthen bamboo sector in a big way.
Forest Department will certainly be the nodal department for this effort but all other agencies must proactively develop this priority sector, it feels. It is to be reiterated that the entire sector is to be developed, not just bamboo resources in forests.

The committee, headed by V Giriraj, Principal Secretary (Finance), suggested that the general impression is that bamboo is produced and consumed in tribal areas only and it is often associated with Gadchiroli or Vidarbha in general. Therefore, conscious attempts must be made to dispel this idea and bamboo clusters and other initiatives must be developed in all part of Maharashtra, wherever there is potential, the panel stated.

As suggested by the committee, the Government created Maharashtra State Bamboo Development Board to promote bamboo sector within Forest Development and with Government. It also suggested to promote simultaneously a multi-stake holder Maharashtra State Bamboo Promotion Agency outside Government, in partnership with others. The recommendations include- increasing bamboo production and productivity, earmarking forest bamboo for various categories of downstream industries for at least ten years, intensively promoting about 10 to 15 compact bamboo clusters in various parts of the State and fully removing transit pass restrictions, or if that is not possible, keep it to barest minimum in selected pockets of Maharashtra.

The committee recommends that the entire campus of Bamboo Research & Training Centre at Chichpalli, around 25 km from Chandrapur, must be developed using buildings and structures with bamboo substantially. This will showcase the potential of bamboo as a construction and structural material to people. It also wants that that centre should start diploma course in modules for construction, handicraft, Botany, engineering products and one for basic English and Maths skills and the last one on entrepreneurship skills.

The committee also recommended developing Wadali-type nurseries in every forest circle and providing good training and capacity building in bamboo propagation and related techniques, among the IFS and State Forest Officers on a priority.