SHILLONG, Sept 25 � A Pakistan-origin Indian entrepreneur, credited with setting up the country�s first bamboo-based factory in Meghalaya, was honoured by Vice President Hamid Ansari for his pioneering efforts in the field of bamboo industry.
Sampuran Singh, 93, who set up the country�s first bamboo industry � Timpack Private Limited � at Byrnihat in Meghalaya in 1979, was honoured and felicitated at Kohima during the World Bamboo Day celebrations.
Born in Pakistan, Singh had moved to Meghalaya from Punjab in 1979 to start a timber factory which subsequently diversified to a bamboo-based factory, giving employment to scores of local youths. �This region has a lot of potential. Bamboo-based industry has generated a lot of revenue for the government,�� Singh said.
Timpack is the first bamboo-based industry in India manufacturing four products at its plant. Its product range includes bamboo mat corrugated sheet, bamboo mat board, plain and veneered particle board.
The raw materials for the factory are sourced from Meghalaya and Assam which are converted to various bamboo products. While his products are marketed across the country of late, the factory is supplying corrugated sheets to Indian Railways.
�The Railways are using it to build sheds in the railway stations. These sheets have the potential of replacing the asbestos and other GC sheets that are in vogue,�� Singh said.
�When I came to Byrnihat, there were only about a 1,000 people there. And mine was the only industry there. Down the years, as industrial activities expanded in the area, the population has rose leaps and bounds,� Singh recalled.
Singh said he planned to expand his business so as to provide more youths with employment opportunities. �The bamboo industry has a lot of scope. People need to be more conscious about the opportunities,�� Singh said.
He currently employs over 100 people, all locals, and his total annual sales volume last year was roughly Rs 4 crore.
Five to 10 people are being engaged for research and development work in the plant which has a production capacity of 3,000-4,000 BMC sheets per month. The unit was set up with guidance from Planning Commission, several Central Government departments, the State Government and technical advice from IPIRTI, Bangalore. � PTI