Rubber Board focus on Assam

GUWAHATI: The national Rubber Board is looking to make Assam one of the leading states in rubber production in the country. The board, which is focusing on the future of rubber production in the northeast, said Assam should come up with a comprehensive policy on rubber plantation and production. Tripura tops in rubber cultivation in the region, with 55,415 hectare under rubber plantation. Assam is in the second place with 28,102 hectare under rubber plantation. Tripura produces more than 18,455 tonne of rubber per annum and the volume shows a rising trend. In fact, Tripura has emerged as the second largest rubber producer in the country after Kerala. "The need of the hour is to formulate a comprehensive policy for rubber plantation and production in Assam. Tripura could march ahead in rubber production because of a focused policy approach in this sector. We want Assam comes up with a rubber policy as well," a senior Rubber Board official said over the phone from Kerala. The official added rubber cultivation is already happening in Assam. "What we need now is to give it a proper boost. So, a focused policy approach is needed to ensure Assam emerges as one of the top rubber-producing states in the country," he said. Considering the importance of rubber cultivation in Assam, chief minister Tarun Gogoi has called a meeting with officials of the Rubber Board on August 24. tnn The meeting will be a crucial one on shaping a policy-approach to rubber cultivation in Assam, the official said. The Rubber Board's focus has shifted from traditional rubber-producing belts like Kerala and Tamil Nadu to the northeast as far as plantation is concerned. The Tripura Rehabilitation Plantation Corporation Ltd (TRPCL) of the Tripura government played a crucial role in weaning tribals from shifting cultivation and making them shift to rubber plantation. "Rubber plantation in the northeast has scripted success stories in Tripura, and we are geared up with training and promotional exercises for popularizing rubber plantation in Assam," the official said. The board has set up a rubber research and training centre at Hahara in Sonapur on the outskirts of the city to train upcoming rubber cultivators in the state.