Dehradun, March 4 (IANS) The Uttarakhand government has decided to set up a centre of excellence for Himalayan fibre in Almora district of Kumaon.
The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting here on Sunday evening, said state Urban Development Minister Madan Kaushik.
The centre of excellence will be set up with support from the Northern India Textile Research Association (NITRA) – Ghaziabad. NITRA, which comes under the Union Ministry of Textile, will set up a training institute for developing fibre products at the Centre.
The cabinet also cleared a proposal for allotment of 0.4 hectares of land needed for the centre at Bercimi village in Almora, Kaushik said.
“Our aim is to produce top quality fibre and best quality products from the forest flora in Uttarakhand. This will give people new avenues of employment,” said Kaushik.
The centre of excellence is in line with the state’s efforts to optimise the use of local trees such as pine, bhimal and oak.
Union Minister of State for Textile Ajay Tamta has been taking a keen interest in the better use of pine needles, which otherwise are a major cause of forest fires in Uttarakhand.
It was on Tamta’s request that NITRA, Ghaziabad started research to see whether pine needles can be used to make fibre products. “Work is on to produce a blend of fibre and yarn,” said Shweta Saxena, a Senior Scientific Officer at NITRA.
Bhimal (Grewia optiva), another common tree of the lower Himalayan region — the leaves of which make for excellent fuel and cattle fodder — is now being used to make fibre from which products such as slip-ons, baskets, mats and bags are prepared.
A group of women, supported by the Bhartiya Gramotthan Sanstha, in Rishikesh are experimenting with bhimal fibre and jute to even produce handloom items.
“We mix the fibre of bhimal and jute to make handloom products,” said Veena Pundir, the group trainer.