Ahmedabad: To make currency notes long lasting, Gujarat-based Navsari Agriculture University (NAU) claimed that they have standardised a process of manufacturing high value paper from banana fibre.

"We have standardised the process of making high value paper from banana fibre. The paper has been tested in the Central Institute for Research on Cotton Technology," B N Kolambe said.

He also added, "During research it was found that the paper made out of this fibre has shelf life of over 100 years as it is the strongest of the long fibres ever found among the natural fibres. It can be folded as many as 3,000 times”.

"This fibre has the potential to find application in making of the paper required for the printing of currency notes," Kolambe said.

"According to references in few leading journals, we found that Japan uses banana fibre to manufacture the paper required to print its currency Yen," he said.

Seconding his views, an RBI official said, "Banana fibre as an input raw material could be the secret behind the lasting currency of Japan, whereas the Indian currency is quite prone to getting soiled during transactions and has lower shelf life."

In the present set up, Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited (SPCMIL) imports very high grade quality cotton rags and pulp to manufacture the paper required for currency notes, the official said on condition of anonymity.

"If there is an indigenous alternative available which can reduce the nation's dependence on imports of cotton rags, then the possibility of its introduction should be explored," the RBI official said.
   
"The commercial application of banana fibre is viable as its availability is not a constraint. It is generated from the stem of the plant which usually goes as waste and has no other application," Kolambe said.   

(Agencies)