Jute parks in Assam

By Mumtaz Mazumdar
Jute or mestha is a bio-degradable vegetable fibre and produces eco-friendly natural product. Following cotton, jute is the cheapest and a significant fibre among all textile fibres. It is expected that replacing poisonous polythene-bags use can be best done by jute bags. The Jute Industry occupies an important place in the national economy. Jute is one of the major industries in the eastern region, particularly in West Bengal.

Outside the nation, jute products are largely in demand by many countries. India is in tie with many of them. For example Ghana which is world's second biggest cocoa grower and its economy depends on cocoa exports needs jute bags as inevitable in the packaging cocoa. After 1960s, jute craze in India
had gone down. It was particularly down when it was realized that most of the jute-growing lands have remained in Bangladesh.

Today the Indian government is determined to revive the jute industry of the country. During the Tenth Five Year plan period, the National Jute Policy, National Jute Board Bill as well as Jute Technology Mission with an outlay of Rs. 355.5 crore have been approved by the Government in respect of the
jute sector. The Government of India has launched “Jute Technology Mission (JTM)” with effect from 2007-08, spanning a period of 5 years (11th Five Year Plan Period), for overall development of the Jute Industry in the country and promotion of jute and jute products at home and abroad. JTM provides
for “Setting up of Jute Parks for the Diversified Sector”.

The Union Textile Ministry has decided to set up 9 jute parks. The minimum land requirement for establishing Jute Parks in N.E. States and other Tribal Areas was fixed at 10 acres land. For setting up Jute Parks in NE States the subsidy fixed is 90%. Presently, Silchar has been successful in entire north-
east in getting itself allotted with one in 2010.

The one at Silchar is named as Assam Golden Fibre Jute Park Private Limited. It is exactly located at a village named Shantipur in Narsingpur area of Cachar district. It is 22 kms away from Silchar. It is a public-private entrepreneurship. The raw materials are presently provided from Bihar and West Bengal. The inception of the park has made the people of the vicinity very happy.

It has already started generating employment for the youth of this industrially backward district of Assam. Presently it is engaged in training the desirable youth in manufacturing and supplying jute bags, jute sandals / shoes, jute particle boards, jute curtains, jute carpets and others. The products are all eco-friendly. The rural area is showing fast signs of progress and is expected to expand as a wing of the city.

The Park is on the verge of setting up as many stalls as possible all around Silchar. It is also preparing to use the jute in n geo-textiles, paper-making and even in soil-management and road construction in future. It is under the dynamic leadership of a young qualified engineer of 27 years of Silchar, named Shahir Javed Mazumdar who is the CEO of the prestigious jute park. The Park has already started getting handsome orders from all over the country. It shows a very bright future. The Park seems a boon for the people of north-east region. June 2011
Mumtaz Mazumdar is a writer / author based in Silchar, Assam