As the world looks eager to adopt a sustainable means to live and use locally made and sourced products to support ‘Make in India’, a particular make of artisanal bamboo bottles from Tripura is trending on social media. When an Indian Forest Service official, Prasad Rao Vaddarapu, also the mastermind behind this project, tweeted announcing readiness to take orders, the tweet went viral. A part of Tripura Rehabilitation Plantation Corporation Limited, the bamboo artisanal bottle project is designed to offer better livelihood to jhum cultivation farmers of Tripura.
Speaking to us over the phone from Tripura, Prasad Rao says, “The initiative is to help the tribal communities in Tripura use the locally-available resources to make value-added products to make them economically independent. After thorough learning and understanding of various types of bamboo of the northeast, I decided on a particular variety which is native to the region (I cannot give out the name of the bamboo as it is a trade secret). For the project, we trained ten master craftsmen who in turn trained 1000 other craftsmen for the design and the process. It took eight months for us to prepare a prototype, after which we started production.”
Having spent close to eight years in Tripura, Prasad wanted to do something to improve the economic sustenance and livelihood of the communities. Tripura is known for its bamboo crafts; that is because the state grows 28 % of the country’s (India) annual bamboo. “We only use locally-available material to make these bottles. I feel it is one of the biggest USPs of this product,” says Prasad Rao.
The bamboo acts as the encasement to an inner lining which can be either steel, copper or glass, depending on a customer’s preference. The product doesn't use plastic. “Even the copper used is locally sourced. Drinking water from bamboo that is treated to last longer is not advisable. So it acts at the outer cover while the inner lining of the bottle that comes in contact with water is made of either copper, steel or glass,” informs Prasad. Prasad insists on these materials for the lining as they prevent the fungus that commonly develops on bamboo.
The leakproof bottles come in four sizes — 300ml, 500 ml, 750 ml and 1000 ml — and are priced between ₹700 and ₹1200, excluding tax and shipping charges.
“We are also manufacturing thermos flasks which cost around ₹1300 for 750 ml. These products are all handcrafted and I am happy that they have become a source of income for the tribals who work on it,” adds Prasad.
All this means that Prasad is a happy man and the team cannot take a break as phone calls for enquiries keep pouring in. He informs they received over one lakh orders in a day. “Apart from orders from all over India, especially Mumbai and Hyderabad, we received enquiry calls for bulk orders from the U.S. and Dubai.”
To find out more about the artisanal bamboo bottles or place orders call (+91) 9954926020 and (+91)7005984264.