Rubber Parks, a pioneering initiative by the Rubber Board India is doing well in Kerala and Tripura. The main objective of setting up Rubber Parks is to develop infrastructure facilities like power, water, and transportation for promoting development of rubber and rubber wood based product manufacturing sectors. “This would in turn improve value addition of rubber and rubber wood and enhance domestic rubber consumption” says the Board Chairman A. Ajit Kumar IAS in a recent interview to Rubber Asia

The first Rubber Park in Kerala and the second one in Tripura are functioning well, says the Chairman adding that the Rubber Park in Kerala is fully occupied and in Tripura, more than 90% of the area is occupied. The entrepreneurs are fully satisfied with the infrastructure facilities and the services provided by the Park. As the demand has increased, action has been initiated for a second Park in Kerala. In Tripura also, proposals are there for expansion of the Park. The occupancy levels itself show that the goals have been achieved to a large extent.

The second rubber park in Kerala is proposed to be set up at Pirvanthoor in Pathanapuram Taluk in Kollam District. An area of 23 hecters of land has been handed over to the company by the Govt. of Kerala through Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (KINFRA). An amount of Rs.16.70 Crore has been sanctioned to the company under the Assistance to States for Development of Export Infrastructure and Allied Activities (ASIDE) Scheme for development of the Park. The company has prepared the master plan and detailed estimates for setting up of the park. As the land identified is declared as Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA) by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Govt. of India, the company could not proceed further. Application for obtaining environmental clearance for the project from State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) has been filed based on environmental impact assessment study by KITCO. “We are expecting a favourable action shortly” says Ajit Kumar.

Asked whether the Board has to set up more Rubber Parks in India or expand the existing ones to attract more rubber units, he said “Setting up more Rubber Parks can be considered but the respective state governments have to take the initiative by making available suitable land as well as funds required for infrastructure development. The state governments may also consider extending more incentives to the entrepreneurs in the Parks”.

Referring to the challenges being faced by Rubber Parks, he said that as far as both Rubber Parks are concerned, they are facing shortage of land for further allotments. The existing Park in Kerala does not have chances of expansion as acquisition of more land is difficult. In Tripura, the authorities are exploring possibilities for acquiring additional land.