Shimla: Polythene replaced by soft poly propylene bags that are made to pass off as bio-degradable may have frustrated the state governments drive to promote eco-friendly products but top functionaries intend to push jute products to sustain the â€˜polythene hataaoâ€™ campaign.
Talking to reporters at a two day workshop about jute products, chief secretary Rajwant Sandhu said that efforts would be made to replace jute bags for polythene ones that the government had successfully been able to contain.
â€œThe soft bags that have replaced polythene bags too were not bio-degradable,â€ she said.
Beyond carry bags, Sudipto Roy, senior secretary incharge of forestry and environment who was present said, â€œvarious departments were looking at jute geo-textiles as a material for protection of hills slopes, controlling river bank erosion, construction of roads, watershed management, consolidation of any type of soil and reclaiming muck dump yards at hydropower plants.â€
â€œIn the forest department, polythene bags used for germinating plants from seeds have been replaced by bio-degradable jute bags,â€ he said.
National Jute Board secretary, Atri Bhattacharya said that application of jute geo-textiles had been successfully tested for slope protection at the construction site of the large Kol Dam project on Satluj River.
He said that being a natural fiber, there was huge demand for this eco-friendly product from European and other developed countries.
â€œAgainst an export target of $275 million, we were able to export jute products worth over $ 300 million last year,â€ said Bhattacharya.
He said that largest user of jute in the country was Punjab, which mainly used sacks for grain storage purposes.
In states like Himachal, which have become conscious towards their environment, he said, demand for jute products was rising and the board was supporting self help cluster groups to develop new products that could be of local use.