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Monday, Feb 11, 2002

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Nabard proposes credit scheme for Tiruchi units

R. Balaji

In the first phase of the five-year project, 2500 units will be considered for funding in the district.

TIRUCHI, Feb. 10

THE National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development will launch the district rural industries development programme in Tiruchi district during 2002-03.

According to Mr P. Selvaraj, Assistant General Manager, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard), Tiruchi district is the only district in Tamil Nadu identified under the fourth phase for the programme to be launched in 20 districts all over India. This will be focussed, credit intensification programme to direct credit to a range of industrial units including small scale, tiny, cottage and individual enterprises.

Nabard has carried out a study of the potential in Tiruchi, the detailed potential survey has been finalised and will be placed before the banks and Government agencies concerned later this month.

Mr Selvaraj was addressing the Agri Conclave 2002, on the second day of the two-day seminar and exposition organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry here.

Following his presentation, in an informal chat with Business Line, Mr Selvaraj said in Tiruchi, potential areas include three segments emerging new sectors, existing activities and problem areas. For example, the district is a major horticulture producing area, and banana is a dominant crop. However, most of the Nendran variety cultivated in Kulithalai and Thottiyam taluks are sold to traders in Kerala and processed as chips and sold back to markets in Tamil Nadu. Banana processing units are major requirements that will help the farmers augment their income.

Further, paper-making based on banana plant fibre is a proven technology, and has and established export market. Straw board manufacturing from agri-waste as husk was another potential area, he said.

Similarly, mat weaving is a major activity at Musiri based on the `korai' variety of grass grown in that area. However, the trade is tradition bound and the product base consists of only mats. Technology is available to weave other ornamental products including wall hangings and paintings. Potential has been identified for herbal and medicinal plants cultivation and processing units also, he said. In addition, readymade garments units were also coming up in specific areas.

Some of the problem areas include gem cutting, the units for artificial gems (popularly known as American diamonds) face a marketing problem. Beedi rolling units were a household activity, and more than 500 families were dependent on this business, he said.

In the first phase of the five-year project, 2500 units will be considered for funding. Under the programme, training in areas of interest will be provided to the entrepreneurs. An awareness programme to train bureaucrats will also be carried out to improve project implementation.

It may be recalled that in the earlier phase of the District Rural Industries Programme, Tirunelveli was selected, and more than 9,500 units established since 1999-2000, Mr Selvaraj said.

According to the potential-linked credit plan for 2002-07, the credit potential in Tiruchi district is estimated at Rs 3,107.33 crore with Rs 1,173.23 crore for the primary sector.

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