Northeast

Traditional use of bamboo needs modern applications: RK Ranjan

Union Minister of State for Education RK Ranjan on Wednesday addressed the "Campaign for Mass Bamboo Plantation" event at Mapao Zingtun in Kangpokpi district.

ByIFP Bureau

Updated 25 May 2022, 4:33 pm

(Photo: IFP)
(Photo: IFP)

RK Ranjan, Union Minister of State for Education, on Wednesday said that one must consider applying various modern applications to the traditional usage of the versatile plant.

Addressing the "Campaign for Mass Bamboo Plantation" event at Mapao Zingtun in Kangpokpi district, the minister said, “Climate change and pollution in every form is a reality today. In fact, the whole world is gasping for oxygen and talking about oxygen bank”.

Hailing the event organized by the South Asia Bamboo Foundation (SABF), Guwahati, Assam and Apunba Imagi Machasing (AIMS), Manipur, the minister informed that bamboo is the best absorber of carbon dioxide. However, he underscored that while the plantation is being carried out, proper landscaping must be undertaken to make sure that the bamboo planted is in a spot that absorbs maximum emission.

Ranjan also advised the organisers and bamboo enthusiasts to be careful while using exogenous bamboo species but instead promote and conserve the existing more than 52 bamboo species of Manipur. He added that Manipur civilization is based on bamboo.

Additional Director (Retd.), Health Service, Government of Manipur, S Manikanta Singh emphasized that Manipur needs education and awareness regarding poppy plantation in the state. According to him, poppy plantations destroy the environment as there is mass use of weedicides, insecticides, pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.

Also Read: Bamboo cultivation can boost economy, save biodiversity, says expert

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He also believes that the opium thus manufactured in Manipur does not leave the state but circulates within it creating health havoc. Therefore, he emphasised bamboo plantation as an alternative to poppy cultivation. It is not as labour intensive as poppy cultivation. However, the benefits one can reap from bamboo is huge as has been demonstrated by the forward-looking states in India as well as other countries.

Founder and Executive Director, SABF, Kamesh Salam said dual policy confusion prevails over bamboo in India. He remarked that on one hand, it is treated as a forest product like timber but on the other hand, it is treated as a horti/agricultural product like paddy.

Therefore, India has not been able to push forward to develop bamboo and associated products in an intelligent manner while the rest of the world has taken enormous benefits out of the “green gold”.

He further lamented the utter disregard that prevails in Manipur regarding bamboo plantation and value addition of bamboo.

Although the government of Manipur receives a handsome amount of money for bamboo and allied venture development, no one knows how the money has been utilized by successive governments, Salam said. Finally, he spoke about the bamboo value chain, without which Manipur or India cannot leap forward in bamboo technology and production of bamboo-based products.

Chairman Sorshia Christian College, Mapao Zingtun, Sorei Raman recollected how in his childhood days they cooked rice and fish in bamboo stems. He also admitted that although he had personally used bamboo for various purposes he never delved into the cultural and philosophical aspect of bamboo. He added we are throwing away the precious plant that is in abundance around us for cheap plastic and other harmful materials. He concluded by stating that we need to cultivate, conserve and promote bamboo in a sustainable manner.

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Faculty of Indira Gandhi National Tribal University, Homen Thangjam pointed out that rows of bamboo that separated one Meitei neighborhood from another is slowly disappearing on account of population pressure and land scarcity. There has also creeped into our development-loving psyche that cement and steel are the ultimate building materials. Therefore, in the name of development and modernization, bamboo has to be uprooted. Such a mentality and practice has harmed our nature, Thangjam added. He recommended planting bamboos as village boundaries in the hills and where land is available. This will go a long way to make a sustainable environment.

Former MU vice-chancellor, professor Amar Yumnam appreciated the beauty of Mapao Zingtun and aspired to make the place a renowned academic hub. As far as bamboo is concerned, he expressed that we are bamboo people. However, it is difficult to come across bamboo products in the Northeast region. In fact, one gets more bamboo products in other tourist places like Mumbai. Perhaps, the problem is on account of absence of a bamboo-loving government either in Manipur or India.

Development has to be linked with available resources and culture of the place. Otherwise, there are chances of mis-match between “desire” and “reality” and the development venture is bound to be a failure. Therefore, he emphasised that the Government must tap the abundantly available bamboo resource and add it as a valuable component of development chart for income generation and employment creation.

Atom Sunil Singh, director of AIMS, emphasized that we are bamboo people as our culture is intrinsically linked with bamboo culture. The versatile plant is used right from birth rituals to the death rituals. It is widely used as construction materials, musical instruments, cuisine and various others. However, changing times and new technology have infused new usage of bamboo such as charcoal, fabric, energy drinks and others. From the scientific angle, Sunil emphasized that bamboo being the fastest growing plant absorbs carbon dioxide the fastest. So there has to be a concerted effort on the part of the citizens to plant bamboo and create a sustainable environment for the present and future generation.

The programme was attended by HRA executive director, Babloo Loitongbam and Chitra Haobam, social worker.

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First published:25 May 2022, 4:33 pm

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RK RanjanbambooCampaign for Mass Bamboo Plantation

IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur

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