Tezpur: In its resolve to rehabilitate ex-insurgents, the Indian Army has undertaken an environmental friendly project of manufacturing ‘Tamul (betel nut) plates’.
In collaboration with Aseem Foundation, a Pune-based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), the project is expected to provide opportunities and employment to the ex-insurgents.
“This is a pilot project, and few ex cadres are being engaged in making the bio-degradable, environment-friendly, cost-effective ‘tamul’ (betel nut) plates. These plates can be used in catering services for large gatherings, offices and institutes etc.,” said Lt Col Harsh Wardhan Pande, Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Defence.
A statement to the press by the Indian Army states, “The project is conceived and executed by Indian Army in coordination with the Aseem Foundation, a Pune based NGO. It is aimed at improving economic conditions and providing opportunities to earn through self-employment and is currently providing employment to ex-insurgents. There are plans to further expand in scale and increase the scope of the project. Additional machines are being purchased this year to augment existing capacities.”
It is also mentioned that the role of Aseem Foundation will be to help in the marketing of manufactured products in Maharashtra and Assam, which would enable to expand the project in scale and scope, and to augment the existing capacities.
The communique also stated that the raw material for making the plates will be sourced from local farms as the ‘Tamul’ leaves and barks are usually thrown away as waste which will now be collected for manufacturing plates.
“The success of the pilot project can be gauged from the response of the locals who have requested to replicate the project in many more areas. The ex-insurgents’ families are happy since it would offer them an opportunity for dignified earning. The villagers are also excited since the ‘Tamul’ leaves and barks, which were earlier being thrown as waste are being commercially sold. The local youth are being engaged for collection and stocking of raw material,” expressed the Indian Army about the rationale behind undertaking the project in their statement.