National Institute of Technology Karnataka (NITK) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Jute Board (NJB) under the Union Ministry of Textiles to develop technology to make geo-cell products from jute and standardise them for various engineering applications.

According to a statement, commercially available polymer-based geo-cells are costly and not readily available in rural areas and small towns. Therefore, it’s important to invent an eco-friendly, cost-effective cellular confinement product that satisfies engineering strength requirements.

Jute is a natural material that is plentifully available in India. Almost 85 per cent of the world’s jute cultivation is concentrated in the Ganges Delta. The statement said it is high time India explores its diverse applications and widens its usage in the form of different products.

This work has been entrusted to NITK in the form of a research project worth ₹48 lakh with Sreevalsa Kolathayar as the Principal Investigator, Raviraj HM and Somasekhara Rao T as the Co-principal Investigators.

Agencies involved

Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE), the Centre for Water Resource Development and Management (CWRDM) and the Kerala Highway Research Institute (KHRI) are collaborating agencies for this project. Birla Jute Mill (a unit of Birla Corporation Ltd) is the industry partner.

NJB has been entrusted with the implementation of multiple activities and projects by the Union Ministry of Textiles to modernise, technologically upgrade, improve productivity, develop diversified jute products, and develop human resources for the jute sector.

Kolathayar said the wide use of jute for infrastructure projects would pave the way for achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG-9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure) and SDG-11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities).