Phagwara, September 28
Gautam Rishi, a farmer from Nek Nama village in Dasuya tehsil, has grown a bamboo forest on 100 kanal of land. Rishi, who was here recently, told The Tribune that the Kandi region covers 10 per cent of the total land area of Punjab, a barren hilly land not producing wealth.
He urged the state government to come forward to help bamboo farmers with their problems. According to Rishi, the people of Kandi area live in poor financial condition, do not have facilities for education and lack basic amenities. He suggested that the hills of Kandi area can be developed to produce more wealth and improve living standards by promoting bamboo forestation.
Rishi claimed that one acre of waste land in the hills of Kandi area can produce more than Rs 4 lakh per year by adopting a proper species of bamboo. He said that lakhs of jobs can be created as the government has declared bamboo as green gold.
He disclosed that Punjab is meeting 95 per cent of its requirement for bamboo from Himachal Pradesh or Northeast while the Kandi area is capable of producing surplus mass of bamboo, over and above the requirement in the state.
He said that bamboo has proven its utility in making various products like paper, clothes, doors, incense sticks, tooth picks, eatables, floor tiles and oil products besides building material, huts etc.
He said that bamboo is a poor man’’s wood. A bamboo forest can produce more oxygen than any other tree and can grow three times quicker than eucalyptus and poplar trees.
Rishi said all this could be possible in the hills of Kandi area of Punjab if the state government comes forward to change the rules for the thinning of bamboo clumps without any interference by the Forest Department as thinning of bamboo by the growers does not harm the forest, but helps it to grow more.
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