Guwahati, July 5: The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), has suggested more use of value-added bamboo products in public buildings and other places and demanded several measures including waiver of property tax to deal with the Covid induced economic situation.
The CII in a letter to Assam Finance Minister Ajanta Neog has sought waiver of Property Tax and Fixed Electricity Charges for the hospitality sector, which according to the premier industry body, is one of the worst sufferers of the current pandemic situation. CII North East Council Chairman Abhijit Barooah in his letter to the Assam minister demanded to convert a portion of area belonging to government-run Hindustan Paper Corporation Ltd (HPCL) to develop a bamboo park.
Production at the HPCL's Cachar Paper Mill (CPM) at Panchgram in Hailakandi district closed on October 20, 2015 while the Nagaon Paper Mill (NPM) at Jagiroad in Morigaon has remained shut since March 13, 2017. Over 2,500 employees have not received salaries for over four years. The CII said that since a bamboo ecosystem is already in place in Jagiroad and Panchgram areas for the long serving HPCL's two paper mills where bamboo was the prime raw material.
"To give a boost to the bamboo sector, the government may make it mandatory for using bamboo tiles for flooring of public buildings. Bamboo tiles are highly durable and give an elegant, ethnic look. Similarly, bamboo blinds and other bamboo based products should be used by the state PWD," the CII proposed to the minister.
India has 145 of the 1,250 bamboo species found across the world. Bamboo forests in India occupy approximately 10.03 million hectares, and comprise about 12 per cent of the total forest area of the country. About 28 per cent of these bamboo forests are located in northeast India. Bamboo is also known as "green gold" in the mountainous northeastern region. Demanding development of industrial infrastructure in the state, Barooah said that sports can play a major role in bringing back a large number of youth who are derailed from the mainstream and fallen in the trap of illegal activities and addictions.
The CII proposes the government to construct mini stadia in both rural and urban areas, some of which can be constructed in public-private-partnership mode and can be developed into centres of excellence for a particular sport. Saying that over the years, oil royalty has been a major source of revenue for Assam, the CII said that this sector would draw large investment - both public and private - if the state helps in land acquisition and approvals.
For proper implementation of the several schemes launched by the Central Government to deal with the Covid affected economy, particularly the medium, small and micro industries, the CII suggested that the state government should organise periodical review meetings with the head of the banks under the chairperson-ship of the Assam Finance Minister.