Agri Business

Rubber products lack in quality and variety: Anand Sharma

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on October 20, 2013 Published on October 20, 2013




India may be ranked fourth in rubber production but efforts at improving quality and variety of rubber products are lacking, according to Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma.

He said this while laying the foundation stone for a rubber park in Pathanamthitta district on Saturday.

JV PARTNERS

Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Kinfra) and the Rubber Board are jointly setting up the park. The same partners already run a rubber park at Irapuram in Ernakulam district.

The total project cost for the new park will be Rs 36.70 crore of which Rs 16.70 crore has been sanctioned as grant by the Centre. The first instalment of Rs 5.5 crore has already been received.

An official spokesman said that the new park is aimed at the development of rubber-based industries with specific thrust on technology-oriented and value-added non-tyre products meant for exports.

The park envisages fully developed roads; compound walls; 24-hour security; water supply; effluent treatment plant; dedicated power supply; testing and quality control lab, among others.

INVESTMENT SIZE

There will be about 30 industrial plots of various sizes. About 2,000 people are expected to get direct employment. Investments of at least Rs 500 crore are expected to be committed here.

“The park should aim to achieve no less,” the Union Minister Sharma said, citing the need for ensuring quality and variety of products.

The country is not properly exploiting the use of rubber in the healthcare sector, for instance. Over 80 per cent of the rubber-based requirement of the healthcare sector was being imported. This should change.

It may be the country’s largest producer of rubber, but Kerala has largely remained just that, Sharma said. The industrial scope for this valuable raw material has hardly been explored.

“An integrated chain has been created in the country so that high-end manufacturing could take place in the rubber sector with the use of technology,” he said.

NEW TECHNOLOGIES

New technologies ensuring better returns to farmers need to be adopted. Sharma said that the State had the potential for manufacturing clusters which alone would create employment.

“We have to ensure that rubber production grows. In Kerala, not much area is available for expansion of plantations. But there are other areas in the country with the potential,” Sharma said.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy inaugurated the Kinfra Industrial Park in the neighbourhood.

The foundation stone for this park and a standard design factory was laid in August 2010 with an estimated project cost of 12 crore.

Work on development of the park is in finishing stage. Construction of the standard design factory with an area of 60,000 sq ft has been completed, the spokesman said.

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Published on October 20, 2013
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