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Mumbai, Dec. 19

THE use of rubber in construction of roads in likely to increase, especially with projects such as the Golden Quadrilateral accelerating the process, Mr E.V.K.S. Elangovan, Union Minster of State for Commerce and Industry, has said.

In the coming years, products made of rubber could replace those made with plastics as they are less polluting, he said. Mr Elangovan was speaking to the media on the sidelines of the 19th Rubber Conference, organised by the Indian Rubber Manufacturers Research Association, here on Monday.

The rubber industry in India has 4,000 units 30 large units, 300 medium units and 3,500 small-scale units. The sector, with a turnover of about Rs 23,000 crore, employs four lakh people.

Mr Elangovan said per capita consumption of rubber in the country was only 800 gm against 12-14 kg in developed countries. There exists a tremendous growth prospect for the rubber industry in the years to come.

Globalisation is both a challenge and an opportunity for the industry and, therefore, there is need to be competitive as far as prices and quality are concerned, he said.

"Indian rubber plantations have the best yields in the world but now we also need to have best productivity. The industry needs to address the issue of productivity. Technology transfer is the one means to achieve it. Simultaneously, we need to invest in research and development," he said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 20, 2005)
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