Agartala, Feb 3 (IANS) A factory using foreign technologies for manufacturing bamboo floor tiles, said to be India's first, has been opened here and its Mumbai-based promoter says the product has a tremendous market overseas.
Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar inaugurated the Rs.25 crore ($4 million) factory, which employs German, Taiwanese and Chinese technologies, on Sunday at a Bamboo Park at Bodhjungnagar, 25 km from here.
"There is a huge market for bamboo tiles in the US, Japan and Australia and in Europe," said Anil Mutha, chairman of the Mutha Industries Pvt Ltd that has set up the factory.
"Some business groups have also shown keen interest to import these bamboo tiles," added Mutha.
The Tripura government, five years ago, began developing the Bamboo Park at a cost of Rs.30 crore on 100 acres of land to help expand bamboo-based industries.
Bamboo is also known as "green gold" in the northeastern region.
"The Rs.2.50 lakh square metre per annum production capacity factory was set up in a record 14 months with the help of Tripura government," Mutha said
"The moisture-resistant and environment-friendly bamboo tiles keep rooms warm in winter and cool in summer," he added.
"International-standard bamboo flooring and partition tiles would be produced on a commercial basis from this industrial unit. Several hundred people will get employment directly and indirectly because of the unit," Mutha said.
Tripura Commerce Secretary M. Nagaraju said the global market for bamboo has been estimated valued at Rs.50,000 crore in 2001 and is expected to grow to Rs.100,000 crore by 2015.
"India, China, and Myanmar together have about 198 lakh hectares of bamboo reserves and 80 percent of the world's bamboo forests. Of this, India's share is about 45 percent," he told IANS.
"However, India's share in global market in bamboo economy is only 4.5 percent."
He said that China alone has captured 50 percent of the World market, exporting as much as 20 million tonnes of varied products every year. "India, almost 20 years behind China in commercial production, produces only 3.5 million tonnes of bamboo a year."
Quoting Planning Commission records, he said the annual market potential for value added bamboo products in India is Rs.4,463 crore as against the current market size of Rs.2,043 crore. "This is projected to touch Rs. 26,000 crore by 2015."
(Sujit Chakraborty can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)