- Abhijit Nath, NET Correspondent, Tripura
After holding a crucial meeting with Tripura’s chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb at Agartala on Monday, the delegation of Laos-based HHSM Group of Companies on Tuesday expressed their desire to purchase 1,000 kilograms of ‘Agar’ wood from Kadamtala under North Tripura district every month.
The industrialists of the HHSM Group of Companies in Laos were scheduled to visit Kadamtala by helicopter on Tuesday and hold face-to-face interactions with local ‘Agar’ traders in Tripura in presence of state’s Forest department officials. But due to natural calamities, they failed to reach there. Hence, the delegation of the Laos company talked to the local ‘Agar’ traders of Kadamtala virtually.
Agar wood worth lakhs of rupees were smuggled from Tripura to Assam. The ‘Agar’ industry has huge potential in Tripura. Industrialists came to Tripura from Laos crossing 1,237 KMs by air. The demand for ‘Agar’ in Tripura is huge in the world market.
Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb talked with the central government and brought clearance for exporting 25,000 metric tonnes of ‘Agar’ which had opened a corridor of trade from this state. All over the world, the eyes of agar industrialists are now on Tripura. Industrialists from Laos met with Chief Minister Deb on Monday.
The virtual meeting was held at the residence of Anfar Ali, proprietor of the Mamon Enterprise where North Tripura’s District Forest Officer (DFO) and Block Chairman Subrata Deb were present.
Forest department’s official sources informed “For the time being, Laos-based industrialists have expressed their desire to purchase 1,000 kilograms of ‘Agar’ wood from Kadamtala every month. They will also invest Rs 100 crore in the Agar project in Kadamtala area.”
TIDC chairman Tinku Roy said “One of delegates expressed interest in buying agar chips in large numbers from Kadamtala while another prominent industrialist expressed interest in buying 1000 kg of agar per month with a market value of around Rs 2.5 crore in Indian currency.”
“Other industrialists will come to Kadamtala on Wednesday and announce to invest around Rs 100 crore on Agar-centric industries in Kadamtala area”, he added.
However, Block Chairman Subrata Deb told reporters that the smuggling of ‘Agar’ from Tripura to Assam was rampant during the previous Left Front government’s regime. He said the government was not getting any money from it. Agar of Tripura will be sold legally, farmers and traders will get real price, for which the Chief Minister invited foreign industrialists in the state. He also called on the forest department and the agar association to take legal action to curb agar smuggling.