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Rubber industry seeks Centre's support for land in North-East

About 4 lakh hectares of land available for rubber cultivation in the North Eastern region, including Tripura, which has the maximum land

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The All India Industries Association (AIRIA) today sought the Centre's support for allocation of land in the North-eastern region for cultivation.

"We have identified potential lands in the seven North- eastern states that can be useful for the rubber industry and have sent a proposal to the union government, asking them to provide one-third of its support in the region due to security threats," AIRIA President Vinod Simon told reporters here.

"As industrialists, we are ready to invest there. But given the situation there, including security threats, we need the government to provide some support. They may even offer one-third of their support in a project," he said on the sidelines of the National Rubber Conference here today.

Simon said there are about four lakh hectares of land available for rubber in the North Eastern region, including Tripura, which has the maximum land.

"We have done satellite mapping and have identified that certain forest area in the North Eastern region are suitable for rubber cultivation", he said.

Noting that the Rs 50,000-crore industry has seen a robust growth in the last two years, he said government should not allow export of Natural Rubber, as there is shortage in the domestic market.

"Natural rubber shortage was 65,000 tonnes last year and this year it is expected to reach 75,000 tonnes. Therefore, exports should be stopped," an AIRIA official said.

The Association said levying of anti-dumping duties on carbon black and rubber chemicals, major raw materials for the industry, has made rubber products more expensive compared to finished goods.

"The import of those raw materials of the rubber industry which are not indigenously produced is subjected to high rate of custom duty which makes it more difficult for the industry against import of finish products," Simon said.

The Association,he said,had requested customs duty waiver on raw material not manufactured domestically like and other hi-tech synthetic rubbers and materials.

Observing that South India accounts for 40% of rubber consumption in India, he said the industry was gearing up to tap new opportunities, particularly in the auto component sector.

"During the last financial year also when economic crisis slacked across the sectors,rubber consumption exceeded that of last year. However, for maintaining the growth momentum, the industry is in need of certain enablers at the policy level", he said.

The rubber industry has about 4,500 manufacturers, employing more than 4.5 lakh people.

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