ITC forays into pulpwood plantation in Malkangiri

Bhubaneswar: Tobacco-to- hospitality-to-FMCG conglomerate ITC Limited would procure pulpwood from Malkangiri district to feed its paperboard plant at Bhadrachalam in neighbouring Telengana.

This was disclosed by ITC chief operating officer (COO) Sanjiv Puri at the ‘Make In Odisha’ conclave here on Thursday. Puri was addressing delegates from industries at the plenary session in which Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley was the chief guest.

Puri said the agroforestry programme taken up by the company has the potential to increase farm incomes in the tribal dominated district by 4 to 6 times.

“For our pulpwood requirements, we will create 250 acres of agro and social forestry which in turn will provide more than 100 mandays of employment. With this we will commercially procure pulpwood from Malkangiri”, Puri said.

“We have done a pilot project on 60 hectares and fast growing Eucalyptous saplings are being distributed among farmers. We hope time will come we can add 4,000 hectares every year in the module. I am sure it is going to create livelihood opportunity equivalent of 2 million mandays of employment per year….. Once plantation comes up it can be scaled up further as it will add to new agro forestry value chain in an area where agriculture is not so productive”, he said.

The tribals in the region are into single crop in the entire year and the module has the potential to increase farm incomes by 4 to 6 times. “Because in Malkangiri the crops are rain-fed and farmers typically have one crop in the year, this will economically strengthen them”, he noted.

Puri didn’t talk about the investment plan of the company in the module.

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday attended the ground breaking ceremony of the company’s two projects, which will be set up at an estimated cost of Rs 800 crore. The company will invest about Rs 125 crore to build a luxurious hotel in the capital city and its integrated consumer goods manufacturing facility, to be built over 16 acre land, will manufacture ITC’s food brands such as Aashirvaad, Bingo, Sunfeast and YiPPee!. The facility will be built with an investment of Rs 675 crore.