Special Correspondent

Guwahati: Union Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh has said that the Rubber Board identified 1 lakh hectares as the potential area under rubber in Tripura, of which about 31 per cent has come under cultivation.

During his visit to Tripura on December 15-16, Mr. Ramesh said that only by increasing production in Tripura and Assam, will the country's growing demand for natural rubber be met. He lauded the Tripura Government for the support it had been providing to expand rubber cultivation.

Tripura is now India's second largest producer of natural rubber after Kerala, he said.

Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar impressed on the Union Minister the need for the Centre to have a long-term policy for the utilisation of the natural gas resource of Tripura.