Central plan a boost to coir sector

Move to use coir geotextiles for building 1,674-km rural roads

Updated - May 21, 2020 11:23 pm IST

Published - May 21, 2020 11:19 pm IST - Alappuzha

The decision of the Union government to use coir geotextiles in the construction of rural roads is expected to give new impetus to the coir industry in the State.

A communication from the National Rural Infrastructure Development Agency under the Union Ministry of Rural Development says that coir geotextiles, a permeable fabric, natural, strong, highly durable, resistant to rots, moulds and moisture, and free from microbial attack, has been accepted as a good material for rural road construction. Accordingly, 1,674 km of rural roads under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana III (PMGSY III) will be constructed using coir geotextiles in seven States, including 71 km in Kerala. One crore square metres of geotextiles is expected to be used.

Greater potential

The State is pinning its hopes on coir geotextiles to revive the crisis-ridden coir sector and the Centre’s decision is likely to increase the market potential for the product. “It is a welcome move. Using it as a material for building roads will increase the demand for geotextiles and it will be a boon to the coir industry. The State government has already identified the importance of geotextiles in reviving the coir sector and initiated measures to increase its production. Apart from road construction, geotextiles can be used for soil conservation, as erosion control blankets and so on,” says a State government official.

Production figures

According to officials, the production of geotextiles in the State is expected to touch around 30,000 tonnes in 2020-21 and 45,000 tonnes by 2021-22.

N. Saikumar, president, Kerala State Cooperative Coir Marketing Federation (Coirfed) says, “Kerala is already using coir geotextiles in various fields. Our focus is on geotextiles as the coir industry’s future depends a lot on it. We do not know yet how they are going to purchase geotextiles — the quality, rate among other things — for PMGSY III. But, the decision to use geotextiles in the construction of roads itself is a positive thing. Rising demand for geotextiles will result in an increase in coir production, which will benefit the coir sector,” Mr. Saikumar says.

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