Ranirbazar (Tripura): The Tripura Skill Development Mission, along with the Rubber Board of India, recently organised a 15-day training for latex harvest technicians, popularly called tappers, in the Khathansa area of West Tripura district, with an aim of enhancing the skills of untrained tappers to meet the huge shortfall in the state.
At present, around 75000 hectares is under rubber cultivation in Tripura though the target is to spread it upto one lakh hectares with an additional target of another 1.5 lakh hectares under Right to Forest Act for the tribal sections especially.
“Earlier I use to work in my own rubber plantation but, when came to know about this training organized by the Tripura Skill Development Mission and Rubber Board, I decided to join it. This has been a very useful training for me and I have learnt various things here. I have now adopted rubber as my ultimate destination for development in my life,” trainee and rubber cultivator Samprai Tripura told ANI.
More and more plantations are reaching yielding stage and the productivity levels are also encouraging but a major hurdle was the absence of skill labour particularly tappers.
“I wanted to do this training and I have got a lot of experience, and learnt many things such as not cutting the total bark of the plant and not to mark which has a very bad impact on the plant. I thought of going through this training to save the plant and my future,” said trainee Jatan Debbarma.
Initially the state use to get tappers from Kerala, but with the demand for rubber increasing, a need has been felt to expose unskilled labourers to new techniques and employ them in this sector.
During the training, participants were exposed to classroom lectures and practical demonstrations in tapping, collection and processing of latex.
Tripura is the second largest producer of rubber after Kerala and rubber cultivation is a very popular and profitable.
Rubber plays a very vital role socio-economic development of tribal jhumias and the state government along with the Rubber Board has played a major role is popularizing rubber in Tripura since the early 1980 but a major problem was the absence of skilled labour that is necessary on a regular basis throughout the year in rubber cultivation.
The state government has set-up a Rubber Park on 90 acres of land at Bodhjungnagar with the technical support of the Rubber Board of India. It has facilities such as a centralised quality control lab, training center, centralised latex and carbon black masterbatch unit, warehouse for raw material storage, centralised procurement of subsidiary raw material for rubber based industries. (ANI)