India’s second rubber park coming up in Tripura

By Sujit Chakraborty, IANS

Agartala : India’s second rubber-based industrial park is being set up in the northeastern state of Tripura to bring about a natural revolution in the elastic polymer industry.

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The rubber park, a joint venture between the Tripura Industrial Development Corporation (TIDC) and the Rubber Board, is the second of its kind in the country after the rubber park in Kerala’s Irapuram.

The Tripura park is also aimed at boosting rubber-based industries in India.

Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (ILFS) is the project management agency of the park, where at least 20 rubber-based industrial projects would be set up within the next three years.

“The rubber park is to be built on an area of 50 acres of land in the Bodhjunjnagar industrial growth centre in western Tripura and over Rs.500 million are expected to be invested in the park over a period of three years,” said Pabitra Kar, chairman of the TIDC.

Tripura is the second largest rubber producer in the country after Kerala with 35,760 hectares of land so far brought under cultivation.

According to the Rubber Board and the National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning, an area of 100,000 hectares is suitable for rubber plantations in Tripura.

“A big rubber product development and display centre and a rubber museum would be set up in the park, which would lead to significant employment generation for over 1,000 people,” Kar said.

Chief Minister Manik Sarkar kicked off the work of setting up of the rubber park Saturday.

According to Rubber Board officials, the current production of rubber in Tripura is estimated to be at 20,000 tonnes annually, which is valued at around Rs.1.80 billion. The state has a potential to increase the production of rubber to 90,000 tonnes per year.

“There are over 50,000 rubber- and latex-based down stream products that have a huge domestic and international market potential and the park would provide the platform and impetus for the growth of the downstream rubber industry in the country,” said A.K. Krishna Kumar, chief operation officer of ILFS.

The chief minister said the state government has already asked the railway ministry to connect the industrial growth centre with the Assam-Agartala railway line, which is expected to connect the Tripura capital by the middle of next year.

“The Tripura government has established a ‘Rubber Mission’ with the objective of systematically expanding 85,074 more hectares under rubber cultivation in the state for ensuring socio-economic and industrial growth,” the 100-page status report of the Rubber Mission said.

According to Indraneel Bhowmik, research advisor of the Tripura Rubber Mission, the National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning has identified 450,000 hectares of land in the northeastern region of India as suitable for rubber plantations.

“Thus the non-traditional zone is the area where lies the potential for expansion of rubber plantation to avail higher level of production of natural rubber, which had been used as industrial raw materials for almost 50,000 goods,” Bhowmik pointed out.

India has 600,000 hectares of rubber plantations producing about 750,000 tonnes of natural rubber annually.