Rubber plantation can open avenues for employment and boost economy: Sonowal

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, Aug 24: Rubber Board chairman Ajith Kumar today called on Asam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal at his office at Janata Bhawan and apprised him about various activities of the Board in different parts of the state and the country. He said that 58,000 hectares of land in 28 districts have been under rubber cultivation and the Board has identified more areas for expanding the rubber farming in the state.

Stating that rubber cultivation can open up avenues of employment for the youth of the state, Sonowal said the state government is willing to invite tyre manufacturing companies to set up base in the state once production of rubber is increased to sufficient amount to sustain those businesses. He also said that other Northeast states like Tripura where rubber farming is going on a large scale can team up with Assam to ensure supply of raw material to those industries.

The Rubber Board chairman requested the chief minister for forwarding a proposal to Central government for allocating extra fund under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) for rubber cultivation so that sustainable livelihood for economically weaker families can be generated. The chief minister was also informed that the initial 7 to 9 years of gestation period of rubber plantation is highly labour intensive and 46 percent of expenditure of 4.5 lakhs per hectare can be met from MGNREGS.

The chief minister assured of submitting a report in this regard to centre and said that there is lot of scope for expanding the rubber plantation in the state. He urged the chairman and other officials of Rubber Board to help in scientific development of rubber farming in the untapped areas.

Assam chief secretary VK Pipersenia, additional chief secretary (industries & commerce) Ravi Capoor, principal secretary to CM Sanjay Lohia were also present during the discussion.

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