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Min: In 5 years coir geotextile will grow into a rupees 1000-crore industry

ALAPPUZHA: Unveiling the road map for the revival of the state’s coir industry, Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said the government would promote coir geotextiles in a big way, aiming to evolve the sector into a Rs 1,000-crore industry in five years. In a chat with select mediapersons on the sidelines of Coir Kerala fair in Alappuzha, he said the government has set a target of achieving 60,000 tonnes of coir yarn production in five years. The yarn will be used to produce geotextile, which the state will promote at the national level for reinforcement of embankments, soil stabilisation, watershed management, road construction and for erosion control of mine waste dumps. “Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has offered to buy 40,000 tonnes of coir geotextile for road construction. Many northeastern states are willing to use it for soil stabilisation. However, the state’s annual production is a meagre 5,000 tonnes. It is a promising sector and we are ready to give 50 per cent subsidy on purchase of machinery for entrepreneurs to start geotextile units,” said Isaac. He said the state was planning to go for aggressive automation of the coir sector to achieve the target. “We will shift to automation without creating a labour problem. The government will purchase the yarn produced by the traditional sector at a competitive rate to ensure minimum wages to one lakh workers. The state, which had a monopoly in the coir sector till the end of 1960s, now holds only 20 per cent share in the industry due to our reluctance to adopt mechanisation. Tamil Nadu has captured the export market through diversification,” he said.
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