G.K. Nair

Kochi, Oct. 7

THE Union Government has envisaged a scheme for the regeneration of the coir industry by developing consortia and coir clusters in States where the industry exists with the objective of avoiding exploitation by middlemen.

Coir Board sources here told Business Line that the Centre was considering setting up of one cluster each in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

In Kerala, such clusters have already come up in the Alapuzha district.

For regeneration of traditional industries, the Centre has allocated Rs 100 crore. With the share for the coir industry, 10 to 25 new small clusters will be set up in other States too. The idea of introducing the cluster system is to avoid the small-scale units from being exploited by the middlemen, the sources said.

The board has already prepared a Millennium Development Mission document for the development of the coir industry.

As part of this, a project entitled `Alappuzha Coir Cluster Development Project ' has been evolved under the Industrial Infrastructure Up-gradation Scheme.

The comprehensive project envisages setting up husk collection banks for coconut husks otherwise discarded or wasted, coir fibre extraction units, coir yarn production units, coir mats and matting units, including power loom units, and common facility centres/common effluent treatment plants.

Additional employment could be generated for nearly 20,000 workers predominantly women in the Alappuzha District by implementing the project, they said. The total financial outlay of the project will be Rs 56.80 crore.

For direct implementation of the project, a special purpose vehicle comprising the representatives of the beneficiaries including manufacturers, self-help groups, coir co-operatives and exporters in the coir sector has been constituted.

The SPV - Alappuzha Coir Cluster Development Society - has been registered under the Travancore-Cochin Literary, Scientific and Charitable Societies Act XII of 1955. The board of directors of the society includes stakeholders, representatives from the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Kerala Government, District Collector, Alappuzha, and the Coir Board.

An executive committee has also been constituted to take decisions for the smooth implementation of the project.

The Kerala Chief Minister, Mr Oommen Chandy, will formally launch the SPV on Saturday at Alapuzha at a function to be presided over by the Union Minister for SSI and ARI, Mr Mahabir Prasad.

The Chief Minister will also lay the foundation stone for the common effluent treatment plant of the exporters' consortium. Mr Prasad will lay the foundation stone for the common facility centre of the small-scale manufacturers' consortium.

Ms K.R. Gowri Amma, Minister for Agriculture and Coir; Mr K.C. Venugopal, Minister for Tourism and Devaswoms; and Mr A. P. Padhi, Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of SSI & ARI, will also attend the function.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 8, 2005)
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