Malkangiri: The much awaited bamboo collection from forests of this district has started after a gap of six years.
M/s Rumi Chemical and Packaging, a Jharsuguda-based private firm, has been awarded the contract by the Orissa Forest Development Corporation (OFDC) which would not only generate revenue for the state government, but also help hundreds of locals supplement their earnings, it was learnt.
According to reports, bamboo plants are seen in most parts of the natural forests of Chitrakonda, Kalimela and Balimela in the district.
Earlier, the forest department used to collect bamboo from these forests and supply them to Sewa Paper Mill-Jeypore, JK Paper Mill-Rayagada and a few other paper mills of neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. While the state government was getting crores of rupees from the sale, the activity also provided earning opportunities to hundreds of locals.
However, none of the firms participated in the tender floated for cutting and transport of bamboo from the forests due to threat from Maoists since 2011.
Though the OFDC attempted to rope in the forest department to dispose of the bamboos, it yielded no result. However, cutting of bamboo has begun this year as the Maoist menace is somehow under control, thanks to effective combing operations in the forest by the security forces, officials said.
Bamboo cutting is in progress in areas like Chitrakonda, Alurkota, Gumanpada, Balimela, Tarlakota and Chitapari. Local workers have been engaged in the operation.
Meanwhile, bamboo consignments are being transported through Balimela reservoir and kept in a depot.
The state government would get over `1 crore as revenue from the district from the sale of bamboo, Malkangiri divisional forest officer Samrat Gouda said.
This apart, the workers and the vehicle owners of the district who have been engaged in transport of bamboos would also gain, he added.
However, the forest officials of Chitrakonda and Balimela have been asked to inspect whether government rules are adhered to during cutting of bamboos.
Bamboo plants wither prematurely if matured bamboos are not collected every year. PNN