Staff Reporter

Foundation stone laid for two new factories at Kanichukulangara Coir Park

ALAPPUZHA: A sudden spurt of activity, and along with it, the stirring of fresh hope, is being witnessed in the coir industry that has been in dire straits for long. More such activity is in the pipeline, according to Coir and Cooperation Minister G. Sudhakaran.

The attempts to revive the industry, in fact, began long ago and what is being seen now are the initial results, he said after a function in which foundation stones were simultaneously laid for two new factories at the Coir Park at Kanichukulangara here on Friday.

Efforts to improve the living conditions of the workers by hiking minimum wages and enhancement of coir worker pensions were only ingredients of a major plan that the Left Democratic Front government had for the sector. Revival of the agencies that ideally should hold the reins of the sector and lead the way was among the main objectives.

Strengthening of the Coirfed, the apex body of the coir cooperative societies, was the major one among these, the Minister said, citing the revival project that was launched on Thursday. The same day, the augmented mattress production unit, with the capacity increased by three times, was also rededicated.

Loans for the societies, distribution of mechanised coir ratts, popularisation of coir geo-textiles, mass manufacturing of coir fibre extraction machines and distribution of the fibre extraction machines at subsidised rates as part of a larger effort to tackle the shortage of coir fibre and introduction of advanced mechanisation are also steps initiated recently.

While Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan is slated to lay the foundation stone for a new coir machine manufacturing factory here on May 24, the two new factories, for which stones were laid on Friday, would have a deep impact on the sector once they were fully functional, he said.

The bigger of the two will be the Coir Composite Board factory of the public sector undertaking Foam Mattings India Limited.

The factory will have a capital of Rs.14 crore. Coir composite boards are expected to revolutionise the domestic construction industry apart from its potential to make a mark in the automobile, railway sectors and the export market as well.

The second one, the State Coir Corporation's Coir-Blended Yarn Loom factory, has a capital investment of Rs.5 crore. It will produce value-added products and a fresh range of products, aimed primarily at the international market.