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 The mantra for survival of jute industry is product diversification and the Jute Geo Textiles (JGT) provide an opportunity to the Jute Industry to diversify and capture new market, said Thiru. Dayanidhi Maran, Union Minister of Textiles while launching the International Project for the Development and Application of Potentially Important Jute Geotextiles in November 2009. Ambassador Ali Mchumo, Managing Director of the Common Fund for Commodities, Tmt. Rita Menon, Secretary, Textiles, Thiru. Sutanu Behuria, Chairman, International ute Study Group (IJSG) and Thiru. Sudripta Roy, Secretary General, International Jute Study Group, and Thiru. Bhupendra Singh, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Textiles were also present. 

   Thiru. Dayanidhi Maran, Union  Minister of Textiles<
Thiru. Dayanidhi Maran, Union Minister of Textiles

 The Minister said that Jute Geotech is a very cost effective and versatile material for ground  modification and stabilization, however, in India the use of these materials remain inadequate and far below the potential despite the country having the second largest road network in the world and indigenous fibre base. It becomes our bounden duty to sensitize the stakeholders about myriad applications of Geo Jute & Jute Geotextiles and its business potential, emphasised Thiru. Maran. 
 Jute Geotextiles (JGI) can have a business potential of Rs. 1,260 crore in the 21,000 kilometre National highway being upgraded by the Government, said Thiru. Maran. The Bharat Nirman, a time bound action plan for development of rural infrastructure, envisages laying of 24,000 kilometres of roads to provide connectivity to rural areas and Jute Geotextiles in this Programme can generate a market potential of Rs. 868 crore, said Thiru. Maran. The Government will spent US $ 78.5 billion for development of road infrastructure during the Eleventh Five Year Plan Period and the Jute Textiles Industry shall shape up to exploit the potential, said the Minister. 
  The Minister said that there is an immediate need for standardization, if the Jute Geotextiles have to meet acceptability both in national and international markets. The Minister said that the five years US$ 3.96 million dollar project has also a social angle. The increased off take of jute will help in poverty alleviation in jute-growing areas and in improving the living conditions of farmers and workers. I compliment the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) and the International Jute Study Group (IJSG) for their initiative, said the Minister. 
  The Minister hoped that the Jute Manufactures Development Council (JMDC) as the Project Execution Authority (PEA) will be able to fulfil its commitments with the support and co-operation of the partners of the project and lead jute sector to a better position in the interests of the farmers, the workers, the industries and all the stakeholders in the sub-continent. 

  About Project For Development & Application of Potentially Important Jute Geotextiles 
  The project will help in identifying potentially important Jute Geotextiles (JGT) for use in control of soil erosion and rural road construction and standardization of design, methodology and specifications for use of Jute Geotextiles. Under the project, 26 field trials will be conducted - 16 in India and 10 in Bangladesh to certify and standardize the effectiveness of JGT. The Ministry of Rural Development supports the use of JGT in its projects and is in the process of short-listing sites for this project. The estimated cost of the five years project is US$ 3.6 million, of which the Government of India will provide US$ 1.25 million as counterpart contribution for implementation of the project activities in India. The Government of Bangladesh will contribute US$ 0.57 million. The project will be financed by the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC). The International Jute Study Group (IJSG), Dhaka will be the Supervisory Body, and the Jute Manufactures Development Council (JMDC), Kolkata, India will execute the project. The Jute Diversification Promotion Centre (JDPC), Bangladesh is the nodal agency for the Bangladesh part of this project.
  Diversification is way forward for jute industry
  Jute industry in India, with a turnover of Rs 5,500 crore, is seeing growing international interest for diversified, lifestyle jute products. Of the Rs 1,200-crore jute exports,  lifestyle products like shopping bags, carpets, readymade garments and furnishings constitute about 35 per cent. However, the domestic market is still dominated by traditional products like sacking, where again the government body, the Food Corporation of India is the largest buyer. There is an urgent need for the domestic jute market to diversify, said Atri Bhattacharya, secretary, Jute Manufacturers Development Council (JMDC).
  We need to diversify. What if the FCI, the largest buyer of sacking finds some other acceptable alternative to jute? We, of course, want exports to grow. At the same time we cannot ignore the domestic market, Bhattacharya said. Bio-degradable, eco-friendly jute made-ups have a very big international market. But in India the large volume made-ups like standard shopping bags and carry bags (not fancy ones) move in places only where the government clamps down on pollution control. In cities where the government is serious about eco-friendliness, like in Delhi, we sold about half a million bags in the last 2-3 months. These are the areas where we have huge opportunity, Bhattacharya said. JMDC has launched the re-branding of lifestyle jute products. We have entered into an agreement to sell the products in Kolkata in retail malls to begin with. Six such shop-in- shops have been opened. We will later extend this to other parts of the country, Bhattacharya said.

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