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Plan mooted to raise plants on vacant Defence land

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INTERACTIVE SESSION: (from left) L.V. Saptharishi, co-chairman of the Confederation of NGOs of Rural India (CNRI), Mohan Dharia, chairman of CNRI, and T.C. Venkat Subramanian, chairman and managing director of Export-Import Bank of India, at a semina r in Chennai on Monday. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan (EOM)
INTERACTIVE SESSION: (from left) L.V. Saptharishi, co-chairman of the Confederation of NGOs of Rural India (CNRI), Mohan Dharia, chairman of CNRI, and T.C. Venkat Subramanian, chairman and managing director of Export-Import Bank of India, at a semina r in Chennai on Monday. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan (EOM)

Special Correspondent

Mohan Dharia suggests extracting bio-diesel to meet armed forces' energy needs

CHENNAI: It has been suggested to Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee that the armed forces can consider raising plants such as jatropha on vacant Defence land.

This was revealed by Mohan Dharia, chairman of the Confederation of NGOs of Rural India (CNRI) and former Deputy Chairman of the Union Planning Commission, here on Monday.

Inaugurating an interactive session on linking rural industry to global market, organised by the CNRI and the Export-Import Bank of India (EXIM Bank) here, he said bio-diesel could be extracted from plants such as jatropha. This would help meet the energy requirements of the armed forces.

Mr. Mukherjee had promised to send a team of officials to the CNRI for holding discussions.

Mr. Dharia highlighted the need for preserving environment. The CNRI had 3,000 member-institutions. It planned to train youth in income-generation activities.

International labelling

T.C. Venkat Subramanian, Chairman and Managing Director, EXIM Bank, wanted more Indian products certified by the Fair Trade Organisation, an international labelling organisation which works for improving the condition of the poor producers in the developing world.

At present, only three Indian products cotton, rice and tea were certified. In the case of cotton, it was a cooperative society in Kutch, Gujarat, that had been certified by the international organisation.

Had the cooperative society at Vidharbha been brought under the certification process, it would have benefited weavers as a portion of proceeds from the sale of such products was set aside for community development.

Noting that different regions in the country produced unique products, Mr. Subramanian said mats of Pathamadai in Tamil Nadu and toys of Kondapalli in Andhra Pradesh and Chennapatna in Karnataka could qualify for international labelling.

Issues of quality standards, market access, packaging and product design should be addressed while seeking to make available products made by grassroots enterprises to the global market.

L.V. Saptharishi, co-chairman of the CNRI, said NGOs should reposition themselves in the context of India becoming an economically strong nation. Cautioning against over-dependence on government resources, he said it was right for the NGOs to take the government support for social sector activities, but not for economic activities. For this purpose, resources could be mobilised through self-help groups.

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