Industry body Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association (ATMA) will invest Rs 1,100 crore to undertake rubber plantation in additional 2,00,000 hectares of land in Northeast India in the next five years, officials said on Wednesday.
Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, while participating in a virtual seminar, thanked ATMA for agreeing to invest Rs 1,100 crore for developing a plantation in 2,00,000 hectares of land within five years in the northeastern states.
Acknowledging the good quality of natural rubber produced in the mountainous northeast region, Goyal said that the region is an ideal natural rubber producing zone.
“Natural rubber sells at better prices in the market,” Goyal said and urged the eight Northeastern states to work out schemes and coordinate with the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) for loan assistance to the farmers.
Tripura is the second largest natural rubber producing state in the country after Kerala with over 85,038 hectares of land under plantation, producing 74,139 tonnes of rubber annually. Over 1.50 lakh families are directly and indirectly associated with natural rubber cultivation in Tripura.
According to the officials of Tripura Industries and Commerce Department, 90 per cent of the total produced rubber is sent outside the state, earning around Rs 600 crore annually as the state has no rubber-based industries. Natural rubber is cultivated in 16 states in India. With over 600,000 hectares, Kerala tops rubber cultivation, followed by Tripura with over 85,038 hectares under plantation. Other major natural rubber producers are Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Assam and other Northeastern states.
Participating in the discussion, Assam Industries and Commerce Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said that currently, 60,000 hectares of land in the state are under natural rubber cultivation with 26,658.58 hectares under tapping, producing 31,590 metric tonnes of rubber annually and generating revenues of Rs 427 crore. “The rubber sector in Assam is employing two lakh people. The Assam government plans to increase rubber cultivation from the potential 1.3 lakh hectares to 5 lakh hectares,” Patowary said. The minister said that ‘Advantage Assam’ has brought in investments worth Rs 65,000 crore in the past few years and with the simplified MSME Act, 2020 and creation of land bank and industrial corridor, Assam will be the next destination for rubber industries.
Requesting JK Tyre, Apollo Tyre, CEAT and MRF to come and invest in Assam, he said that the state enjoys the geographical advantage of accessibility to ASEAN and South-East Asian countries.
“The ongoing project of Multi-Modal Logistic Park at Jogighopa (on the northern bank of the Brahmaputra River in Bongaigaon district) would boost trade and commerce. It will take only three hours to reach Assam From Bangladesh and other neighbouring countries,” Patowary added.
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