iconimg Saturday, August 01, 2015

Roop Upadhyay, Hindustan Times
Mandi, November 06, 2013
Production of resin is one of the prime sources of income for the forest department and the state government, but extended rainy season and onset of early winter season have lowered the production this year at Mandi and Suket forest ranges.
The resin produced by pine trees and most plants of thick forest areas is a viscous liquid, composed mainly of volatile fluid with lesser components of dissolved non-volatile solids, which make it thick and sticky.

Resins such as copals, dammars, mastic and sandarac are principally used for varnishes and adhesives, while the softer odoriferous oleo-resins and gum resins contain essential oils.

The process of producing resin generates employment opportunities to hundreds of rural people, who work as contractors or labourers with the forest department. The process does not cause any damage to the trees.

Suket forest van nigam block officer Suresh Sen, when contacted said that every year Suket forest range produced the highest resin among other ranges, but this year since the summer season was cut short due to extended rainy season the hopes of achieving the requisite target have been washed away.

"The department collects maximum resin during summer season and this year we had only a month to collect the produce from plants. The early onset of winter season is another dampener," he said.

He added that Suket and Mandi forest range collected total 18,026 quintal resin by the end of October, whereas the target was to collect 21,822 quintal by the end of this year.

There are two refineries in Bilaspur which refines the resin into rosin and turpentine and sells it further to companies manufacturing medicines, paints, perfumes and oils.

Environmentalists are also worried over the unscientific axing of trees and use of forest areas for developing hydro power projects and industries because the diminishing forest areas not only disturbs ecology in the hills, but people, who know the art of collecting resin would be the ones who will be affected the most, as it is their main source of income. If forests disappears small agriculture and petty dairy farming business would also be affected.