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Monday, Sep 27, 2004

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Coir Board to invest Rs 3,000 cr in 5 years

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Over Rs 2,000 crore is to come in the form of credit and the balance from private investments and Government support.

Chennai , Sept. 26

THE Coir Board has put together a Rs 3,000-crore five-year investment plan to develop coir industries.

This plan is expected take coir products exports to more than Rs 1,000 crore from the present Rs 400 crore, and double employment to 10 lakh by increasing the number of rural-based industries.

Addressing a press conference following a presentation of the `Millennium development mission document for coir industry' here, the Coir Board Chairman, Mr C. Chandran, said that the programme envisages involvement of the Union and State Governments, banks, financial institutions and the private sector.

Over Rs 2,000 crore is to come in the form of credit and the balance from private investments and Government support. Banks are expected to exploit this opportunity, and in Kerala and Karnataka, they have earmarked adequate funds for the current year.

In Tamil Nadu, where coconut growing clusters — Kanyakumari, Thanjavur, Madurai, Coimbatore, Salem, Tirunelveli and Vellore — are being developed, investments of about Rs 740 crore are planned. This would help to increase the use of coir and related raw materials such as coir pith, husk and fibre. Over 86,000 tonnes of fibre is being sold to units in Kerala.

A wide range of products could be manufactured, apart from the traditional coir yarn for rope making and doormats. Some of the potential uses include timber substitutes such as fibre-based particle boards for doors and door frames, floor tiles and panels — these are antistatic and can be used by electronic industries — and woven coir nettings to prevent soil erosion.

The Coir Board has also proposed a Rs 25-crore plan under the common minimum programme for the modernisation of coir industries. Units in Tamil Nadu could also avail themselves of subsidy under the rural employment generation programme, which provides up to Rs 10 lakh or 30 per cent of the project cost for coir industries, he said.

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