Plan panel group agrees with paper industry’s demand for wasteland use
The rising import cost of wood pulp has hit the R35,000-crore paper industry, which is trying to put in place a system for collaborating with forest departments of various states for taking up plantation on such lands.
“The raw material challenge faced by the paper industry in India, if not addressed, could affect its growth,” Yogesh Agarwal, managing director & CEO, Ballarpur International Graphic Papers Holdings, and president, Indian Paper Manufacturers Association (IPMA) told FE. Agarwal said that under the proposed system, the ownership of land would remain with the forest department even as the company puts in money to grow raising eucalyptus trees, which are used for making paper.
At present, the paper industry gets its key raw material — wood pulp — through social forestry projects with local communities. An estimated 5.2 lakh hectares of land is under social forestry projects, which supply wood pulp to key manufacturers, such as ITC, Orient, Ballarpur Industries and Star Paper.
Acknowledging the need for ensuring raw material supply to the industry, a Planning Commission working group under the chairmanship of secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), has proposed suitable policies for facilitating captive growth of trees under the 12th Five-Year Plan. It has also said that 2.5 million hectares, out of the total 28.84 million hectares of degraded forest
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