Decaying for over a decade, the plywood industry at Yamunanagar - one of biggest in the country - sees a hope of revival with the Centre now recommending relaxation in the existing strict norms on the industry.
In a recent response to a representation by Yamunanagar-based poplar grower and Congress leader Satpal Kaushik, the department of industrial policy and promotion under the Union ministry of commerce and industry, says that the department has “recommended to ministry of environment, forest and climate change to consider relaxing the strict control on the industry’’.
Concerned over the felling of trees for the plywood units in north-eastern states, the Supreme Court had made strict norms for granting permissions to such units pan-India in late 1990s, subsequent to which the permissions could only be granted by a central body and not the state governments.
Kaushik told HT that the industry grew in 1990s with a large number of farmers planting poplar and eucalyptus trees in Punjab, western Uttar Pradesh and Uttrakhand. It was till around 2002 that Yamunanagar had more than 500 plywood units with a large number of workers and traders involved in the same. “While the production of these trees was growing earlier, their production and sale stagnated after the Supreme Court order,” he said and added that permission for not even a single unit had been granted since 2002.
According to him, the Yamunanagar plywood industry used to trade in plywood worth over Rs 40 crore daily at one time, which could have grown further with more and more farmers planting these trees, had there been more permissions for units.
“Such is the situation today that the poplar tree wood which used to sell for over Rs 1,200 per quintal in the past has fallen to less than Rs 500 today, thus having a cascading effect on the industry, the traders and workforce involved in it,” he said.
Kaushik also held that he had been raising voice over the plight of the industry as poplar and eucalyptus were not forest trees and were now being planted as a crop by a large number of farmers in the region.