Once more we are set to observe the “World Bamboo Day”. In an ever increasing need to replace and supplement the man-made materials that is being utilized to fuel the constructions and creation of infrastructures, newer avenues and innovative use of natural resources are being taken up in a big way. One of the most promising and abundantly available natural resource of building material being bamboo, the world is taking a renewed look at this ubiquitous grass to sustain and fuel buildings and other infrastructures of the future. The inherent advantages of this unique material has only been starting to be appreciated- from the climate friendly and relatively economic attributes to the added aesthetics and versatility, not to mention its unique ability to sustain and thrive in diverse climatic conditions. Yet so far, apart from celebrating the day and waxing eloquence on the subject once a year, precious little have been done by the State authorities, nor has there been any support or visible effort by the Government to infuse the private entrepreneurs to work with this wonderful material and develop commercially viable products. The most glaring point being the lack of any facility for treatment of bamboo- a prerequisite step for development of any product using bamboo due to its propensity to attract termites otherwise. Manipur is naturally endowed with an abundant supply of huge varieties of bamboo, and cultivating them commercially will not be a formidable task, given the conducive climatic conditions, yet the lack of infrastructures coupled with the lackadaisical attitude of the Government in making these infrastructures available as well as the indifference shown in taking the initiative in promoting and encouraging the individuals and organizations in their efforts to develop and popularize bamboo products has so far resulted in the precious and versatile material being relegated to temporary substitutes for fencing and as makeshift scaffoldings- a huge waste of efforts. For a fund-starved State with very limited opportunities for gainful employment such as Manipur, the humble bamboo grass presents the perfect opportunity to enable the society to pole-vault itself out of the pit of misery and trouble it is in at present. A sustainable system for value addition and marketing the products with a planned approach towards the development of artisans and adequate raw materials will ensure that our naturally endowed State benefits from such a venture.
An ubiquitous gift