Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said that mechanisation of coir sector needs to be undertaken on a larger scale. He said the government will adopt policies to ensure protection to the sector as well as its workforce.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said that mechanisation of coir sector needs to be undertaken on a larger scale. He said the government will adopt policies to ensure protection to the sector as well as its workforce. He was inaugurating the five-day international coir tech expo, organised by the Coir Board here on Sunday.

Mr. Chandy said Kerala had followed a negative attitude towards mechanisation in the initial stages. The State had failed in optimum utilisation of husk available in the State. Efforts should be taken to strengthen the sector in view of the setbacks it had suffered in the past, he said, and congratulated the Coir Board for organising the expo, the first of its kind in the 59-year history of the Board.

Union Minister for Overseas Affairs and MSME Vayalar Ravi, who presided over the function, said the products made by the coir sector should be appealing to the masses and the people have the responsibility to retain the position of coir sector in the society. The Union government had increased the allocation to the sector from Rs.282 crore in the 11 Plan to Rs.870 crore in the 12 Plan. Exports too had doubled in the past five years. But this was not enough and the sector would require more measures to attract foreign markets. He also assured help to those who had incurred losses because of implementation of ‘Remote project’.

Union Minister of State for Power K.C. Venugopal mooted the idea of popularising the mobile units for making fibre by distributing them in panchayats. He released a technology manual of the coir industry.

Fisheries Minister K. Babu called for steps to ban export of coir fibre and husk. Eldhose Kunnapallil, district panchayat president, unveiled a versatile spinning machine.

G. Balachandran, chairman of Coir Board, said the board was planning to form a coir fibre bank. Geotextiles had high potential and could be utilised in more avenues. Though coir ply was developed 10 years ago, Kerala could not set up a factory to produce it. Similarly, the State failed in setting up a coir pith factory though other States had set up them, he said.

K.P. Dhanapalan, Ramasubbu, and P.C. Chacko, MPs; Mayor Tony Chammany; Hibi Eden, Benny Behanan, Dominic Presentation, Anwar Sadat, MLAs; Subrata Hazarika, vice-chairman, Coir Board; were among those present.

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