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Bamboo makeover move

- Jorhat institute looks to Tripura for expertise
Items on display at the bamboo composite centre of the Rain Forest Research Institute in Jorhat. Telegraph picture

Jorhat, Aug. 20: The Rain Forest Research Institute at Sotai here is looking to Tripura to explore the beauty of bamboo products on a micro scale.

The institute will call in an expert from that state to teach youths here how to make jewellery from bamboo.

T.C. Bhuyan, senior scientist and in-charge of the bamboo composite centre at the institute, said they already had 50-odd items that trainees were taught to make.

They were now looking to increase their repertoire with a line of jewellery, especially earrings and hair clips.

Bhuyan had contacted Gayatri Namo of Sipahijala in Tripura and training was scheduled to start from September.

“Tripura has a wide variety of jewellery and Namo is not only a trainer but also has her own industry. We will greatly benefit from her expertise,” he said.

The bamboo composite centre, set up with the help of the Bangalore-based Indian Plywood Industrial Research and Training Institute in 2011, has about a dozen machines, which make work like cutting, splitting and peeling bamboo easier, faster and homogenous.

There are also a couple of mini semi-automatic machines, which are portable and have been given to those who have established industries and are useful in scraping and turning out small sticks for incense-making and other uses.

Bhuyan said since the machines were installed, a large number of youths in batches had been trained to design and varnish bamboo and cane furniture.

The products include sofa sets, beds, dining tables and chairs, centre tables and even the ubiquitous alna (clothes hanger), a number of handicraft items like lamp shades, pen-holders, laminated trays and vases, decorative items and combs with decorative handles.

“We have also told those who are interested that they can work here and fulfil orders but they will have to bring their own raw materials,” he said.

The master trainers also take orders to make sofa sets or dining table sets at Rs 10,000 each.

“If the forests of the region are to be conserved then we will have to use bamboo instead of wood. Treating it with chemicals can make it last as long as wood,” Bhuyan said.

He added that youths were being targeted as the younger generation was moving away from this industry, which could be as lucrative as tea cultivation.

“There is a lot of demand for items made of bamboo in the construction industry, like laminated bamboo boards and poles. One can make an entire bamboo house with a roof made of these boards and with chemical treatment, it can be made secure from insects and pests. Bamboo is eco-friendly, energy-saving, durable and cheap compared to wood or other building materials. Moreover, it can be moulded into different shapes and designs when desired,” he said.


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