"The Bamboo Heritage Club would take suitable schemes to protect the interests of the artisans and promote the rich tradition of bamboo and cane craft of Tripura," Tripura Bamboo Mission managing director Pravin L Agrawal said.

The Tripura Bamboo Mission is a society under the Tripura government which has set up a Bamboo Heritage Club.

He said so far 20 artisans from Tripura have got the national award for their excellent craftsmanship in cane and bamboo crafts. "These national awardees contributed a lot for the development of the bamboo and cane craft in India and abroad."

"But it was very unfortunate that after 2006, no craftsman got the national award. The Bamboo Heritage Club platform would be used to promote the craft and felicitate meritorious craftsman who would act as a master-trainer in order to preserve the rich heritage of bamboo in northeast India," Agrawal added.

The Tripura Bamboo Mission aims to double the livelihood scope of the bamboo artisans and associated people through value addition of the bamboo, also called 'green gold of forest' in northeast India.

The Tripura government has been developing India's first bamboo park at the cost of Rs.30 crore spread over 70 acres of land in Bodhjunjnagar Industrial Growth Centre, situated 15 km north of Agartala, to expand bamboo-based industries.

According to Jitendra Chowdhury, Tripura's industries, commerce and forests minister, the bamboo park would produce hundreds of value-added items and facilitate the export of products.

Using imported technology from China and Taiwan, a Mumbai-based industrial group has set up Rs 50 crore factory in the "bamboo park" for producing bamboo floor tiles. The company will soon start exporting the bamboo floor tiles to European countries.

Of the 1,250 bamboo species throughout the world, India has 145.

Bamboo forests in India occupy about 10.03 million hectares, covering 12 percent of the total forest area of the country. About 28 percent of these bamboo forests are located in northeast India.

Tripura is one of the major bamboo producing states with availability of 19 to 20 species. It contributes 1.5 million tons of the total 13.67 million tons of bamboo production every year in the country.

(Agencies)

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