Just as Rome was not built in a day, the bamboo sector is coming to age steadily, and has become lively now with experts, institutions, individuals coming out with innovative ideas to boost the bamboo sector in the state. In a first, Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology (VNIT), Nagpur, will come up with a curriculum on bamboo technology in the current session.
Even as the world celebrates World Bamboo Day (WBD) on September 18, the bamboo sector is delighted by VNIT’s decision. Dr Pramod M Padole, director, VNIT, told TOI, “Though admissions have been delayed, our department of architecture and planning will introduce the curriculum in this session.”
“Of the 6 units in the BArch course, one will be dedicated to bamboo right from the first year. In the third year, it will be an elective subject. This will be the first time bamboo will be added in engineering degree course in the country. The course has been designed after discussions with entrepreneurs and experts in the field,” said Padole.
“The course will consist of bamboo species, properties, characterization, technological aspects and how it can be used more in infrastructure development. Earlier, we have helped the forest department develop machines for agarbatti projects,” said Padole.
Presently, Maharashtra Bamboo Development Board (MBDB) conducts a diploma course at Bamboo Research Training Centre (BRTC) in Chichpalli (Chandrapur). This diploma is certified by Maharashtra State Technical Education Board (MSTEB).
Sunil Joshi, chairman, Bamboo Society of India (BSI), Maharashtra Chapter, hailed VNIT’s move. This WBD in a way is a bit special as bamboo sector in Maharashtra has now come of an age for its onward journey.
“Once criticized for being inactive, MBDB and BRTC need to be admired for the positive approach with which it led the bamboo sector, and deserves all appreciation. It has not only helped connect the dots but has also come up with a real replicable module of development for other states to follow and build their bamboo sector,” Joshi says.
“This is just a beginning as the bamboo sector will also take time and many more steps on account of policy, approach, hand-holding, marketing, ventures will have to be taken in future to prove bamboo an alternative for socially and ecologically sustainable industrial economy,” adds Joshi.
TSK Reddy, managing director of MBDB, said, “It’s true that bamboo sector in state has come a long way. There is always scope for development. Maharashtra was the first state to remove transit pass (TP) restrictions on bamboo. Later, Centre followed suit by declaring it a grass.”
“Our first focus is to encourage bamboo plantations on farmlands and create a market for the produce. In Maharashtra, farmers have grown bamboo on 3,315 hectare land with 3,532 beneficiaries. We have also signed MoU with Ballarpur Paper Mills for supply at Rs5,000 tonne ex-factory. Besides, 18 common facilitation centres have been set up to promote bamboo products,” Reddy said.
Wood technologist Sanjay Singh too welcomed the VNIT move. “Experimenting with processes and delivering it with technology should be and is our way to approach any work with passion. Natural products like wood and bamboo products are and should be our key areas of work and practical research field.”
Bamboo Utilization Technology (BUT) is one such process that carries technology and innovation hand-in-hand producing beautiful and wonderful products out of grass. Bamboo converted to bamboo timber, a green substitute to precious hardwood has strengthened the bamboo technology in India, Singh said.
(With inputs from TimesOfIndia)