Chhattisgarh threat to former lac leader - Lack of production is affecting tribal populace in the state

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT in Ranchi
  • Published 9.02.07
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Ranchi, Feb. 9: Once an undisputed leader, the state is losing out in production of natural resin — lac — to Chhattisgarh, which has drastically increased its production and is placed at a close second.

Earlier, Jharkhand’s contribution used to be as much as 57 per cent of the total annual national production.

Lagging far behind was Madhya Pradesh (Chhattisgarh was a part of it) at only about 23 per cent.

Jharkhand’s share in lac production has now decreased to 35 per cent.

But Chhattisgarh, through the government’s support, lac-based processing and end-product facilities, has registered a 34 per cent of national production.

These and other facts came to the fore during a day-long annual Lac Mela organised by the Indian Lac Research Institute (ILRI) on its premises today.

Governor Syed Sibtey Razi, who inaugurated the event, said that the government would be requested to undertake the production of lac through social forestry initiatives.

ILRI director Bangali Baboo and vice-chancellor of Birsa Agriculture University (BAU) N. N. Singh were also present at the event.

Speaking about the lack of employment opportunities faced by tribals, the vice- chancellor of BAU said that earlier about 70 per cent of the tribal population were dependent on selling raw lac which supplemented their income.

But the figure has come down to 50 per cent now due to the lack of production, which is creating a financial crunch for the tribals.

The state is yet to witness any end product units for lac.

It has shellac (refined lac) production units in places like Khunti, Murhu and Bundu.

The annual production of lac in Jharkhand has been pegged by ILRI at about 8,000 tonne per year, where- as it is able to process about 6,000 tonne of the nat- ural resin at 39 processing units.

ILRI director said that they have requested the Indian Council of Agriculture Research, under which the institute functions, to develop ILRI as a centre for other natural resins.

A Silli-based farmer told The Telegraph that he has been able to earn Rs 2,000 by investing only Rs 400 in lac cultivation in a small form, thus hinting at immense potential of lac harvesting.