The State government is set to implement a programme for utilising coir geotextile in water conservation and road projects. The scheme would provide a major boost to the coir sector, said Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac at a press conference here on Thursday.
The programme would be associated with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) as soil protection could be included in it. The State government was in the process of launching a plan to protect ponds and other waterbodies as part of a mission to conserve water resources.
The Minister said geotextiles could be laid on the banks, allowing grass to grow on it. It could be an effective and nature-friendly way to conserve waterbodies while the project could offer employment to people.
Similarly, geotextiles could be utilised in the construction of new roads. The geotextile base would provide better strength to the road before tarring. The Public Works Department had recognised the technology, the Minister said.
Focus on modernisation
Modernisation of coir processing and manufacturing would be of utmost importance to the promotion of the industry and protection of labour. The government was in the process of replacing old coir-spinning machines to improve efficiency.
He said the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government could arrange to procure coir and coir products worth Rs.84.62 crore through the State Coir Corporation during the period from June 30, 2016, to January 31, 2017, compared to procurement worth Rs.68.08 crore done in the corresponding period a year ago.
The coir societies were given Rs.36.27 crore during the eight months ending January 31, 2017, whereas only Rs.22.42 crore had been distributed during the corresponding period a year ago. The procurement would go up in the coming months.
A delegation of experts will tour various States in a bid to market the coir products there. A tie-up has already been made for marketing the products in Uttar Pradesh.
A two-day seminar on uses and established environment-friendly applications of coir geotextiles will be held here on February 4 and 5. The seminar will be held at National Coir Research and Management Institute near Kallupalam here. Dr. Isaac will inaugurate it.
Coir Board chairman C.P. Radhakrishnan will preside. The seminar on February 5 will be held at SN College, Cherthala.
Source: The Hindu