BAIHATA CHARIALI, June 17 - At a time when unemployment has become a cause for concern, the Agdala-Alipub Horticulture Samabai Limited has become a model of self-sustenance for the jobless youth of the area.
The concept of the Samabai came up in a discussion held among a few aged but energetic persons of Agdala and Alipub villages of Baihata Chariali in the last part of 1984 and later they formed a committee for the plantation of rubber plants in the hillock of Motiya Pahar, about two kilometres away from Baihata Chariali. Though initially the committee planted rubber plants in 8-12 bighas of land, but now it has increased to 18 bighas and a total of 22 share-members are working in the Samabai. Deben Sarma, president and Padma Ram Kalita, secretary of the Samabai said that the work of the samabai began with only Rs 22, 000 ( Rs 1,000 from every member) and 15,000 stems of rubber plant with plastic bags were supplied by the Rubber Board.
Though the initial stages of the Samabai were troublesome, but eight years later when the gum began to be collected, a glimmer of hope, was seen on the faces of the members of the Samabai since the cultivation had now become income-generating.
By making incisions on the bark of the rubber plants, gum is collected in vessels. This process is called rubber tapping and after mixing it with water, rubber sheets are produced. Then the rubber sheets are exposed to sunlight which are finally dried by smoke. Generally, these sheets are supplied to rubber companies for sale and from the income, a number of families have got their livelihood. Earlier, the rubber sheets commanded a price of Rs 200 per kilogram, but now it has come down to Rs 100-120 per kilogram which is a matter of concern. The family members of the Samabai have called upon the Government to allocate special funds and support and heed calls for the Samabai�s rejuvenation and also set up new rubber gardens in the State to solve the burden of unemployment in the State.