CM, ministers seek global support to tap bamboo potentials

IMPHAL, 4th Feb: The 3rd world bamboo workshop kicked off Monday at City Convention Centre, Palace Compound here Monday with chief minister N Biren Singh opening the event in the presence of delegates from 34 countries.
Addressing delegates at the opening session of the workshop, Biren said that the barely two years old BJP led state government has so far hosted 4/5 international events in the state and expressed elation over the state’s success in hosting the biggest bamboo event of the world.
Conceding that his government was initially apprehensive of organising the global event or hosting delegates from different countries, the chief minister stressed that the present generation must do something tangible regarding bamboo promotion and plantation if they really care about sustainable development and renewable resources of the world.
He also lauded the World Bamboo Organisation for initiating a global movement to bring the people together for promoting the use of bamboo in different forms like food, fuel, fibre, building materials and a renewable resource with many applications.
Maintaining that Bamboo Society of India must also open a Manipur chapter for a Bamboo Mission in Manipur, he sought assistance of international business and trading consultants like DICMA Trade of Mexico in the global marketing of all bamboo products from Manipur. He further urged for cooperation from World Bamboo Organization and their institutions and sister networks in the matter of plantation, cultivation, processing of bamboo, marketing of bamboo products and technology upgrading and skill development in Manipur.
According to the chief minister, India has 15.69 million hectares of land under bamboo, the second largest after China. But India's share in world bamboo trade of 1.5 billion dollars is insignificant. The North Eastern region of India has only 28 per cent of land under bamboo, while it has 66 per cent of India’s bamboo stock. The North Eastern region and Manipur is therefore the ‘Bamboo Region’ of India, he said.
Stating that bamboo has the potential of becoming the growth engine of North East as the region is the biggest supplier of bamboo in India, Biren said that two bamboo factories have already been opened in the region, one in Tripura and other in Meghalaya.
However an organised value chain, from the bamboo groves to the market, national and international, is yet to emerge. This is where institutions like INBAR India and Indian Plywood Industries Research and Training Industries can play a vital role in the promotion of bamboo in North East India and Manipur, he observed.
Textiles and commerce & industry minister Th Biswajit, who also attended the inaugural session, said that a bamboo based bio-CNG plant as per the present Bio Fuel Policy of India to mitigate climate change and ensure 100 per cent bamboo utilization would come up in Manipur soon. He also informed that state government has drafted a separate policy for bamboo under the joint efforts of the department of textiles, commerce and industries and the department of forest and environment. The draft policy is ready but the government wants to add more constructive inputs from the workshop, he added.
Claiming that the Central government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has brought about many developmental changes and innovative policies, Biswajit said that cutting, selling and transporting of bamboo is no longer subject to permission from the government as the Narendra Modi Government had amended the Indian Forest Act, 1927 to declare bamboo as a grass and not a tree.
The minister said that whatever has been done in the bamboo sector in Manipur is in the unorganised sector. As such, there is need for foreign, Indian and other institutional donors and experts to come up and contribute to the growth and development of bamboo in Manipur, he added.
The minister also appealed to external aid agencies to initiate projects to take up bamboo plantation in the state for making bamboo industrial applications as timber substitute, bamboo for food, constructions, housing, community buildings, eco-tourism resorts, handicraft, furniture, bamboo charcoals, etc.
Forest and environment minister Th Shyamkumar also said that Manipur is rich in bamboo resource and it has immense potential for social and economic development. Since time immemorial, bamboo has been an integral part of the lives of the people of Manipur and they have been using it in various practices. In fact, bamboo plays a very important role in the lives and culture of Manipur, he said, while adding that bamboo is very essential for the economic development of the state. Manipur would be able to gain knowledge on advanced bamboo technologies from various experts coming from different countries during the workshop, he added.
Konthoujam MLA and Working Committee chairman of World Bamboo Workshop Dr Sapam Ranjan, World Bamboo Organisation (WBO) president Michel Abadie, WBO executive director Susanne Lucas, WBO National Co-ordinator professor Nirmala Chongtham, CEO of DICMA Trade (Mexico) Martin Motera and chief secretary Dr J Suresh Babu also attended the opening function, besides MLAs, top civil and police officers of the state government and delegates and experts from different countries.
The five-day workshop is jointly organised by World Bamboo Organisation and Government of Manipur. The workshop is being held in Manipur for the first time in Asia. The first edition of the workshop was held in Mexico in 2017 and the second edition in Peru in 2018.
World Bamboo Workshop is the largest international multi-disciplinary theoretical and practical event in which people from all over the world participate along with world leaders and experts in the use of bamboo. Delegates from around 34 countries like Mexico, US, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Uruguay, Chile, Germany, UK, France, Australia, Vietnam, Japan, Philippines, Malaysia, China, Thailand, etc., would be sharing their expertise in the sector of bamboo industries.

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