Mulberry acreage to be expanded for boosting silk output

Bangalore, July 3 (IANS) The central government will facilitate expanding mulberry acreage to boost raw silk production and revive the sericulture sector, Textiles Minister Dayanidhi Maran said Saturday.

‘The mulberry acreage will be increased to 2.13-lakh hectares this fiscal from 1.9-lakh hectares and provide irrigation facility to about 10,000 hectares to boost the sericulture sector, which has been reeling under the onslaught of cheap imports from China and global meltdown,’ Maran said after unveiling the 48-acre Doddaballapur Integrated Textile Park (DITP), about 40 km from here.

The central silk board will assess the potential of increasing the acreage in the eight mulberry districts across Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

‘We expect the sericulture sector to bounce back and export silk products worth Rs.4,500 crore in the next fiscal (2011-12) from Rs.2,612 crore in last fiscal (2009-10),’ Maran said.

The integrated textile parks under the central scheme will enable the sector to increase the production of high quality fabrics and reduce dependence of the garment industry on imports.

‘The ministry has decided to set up 45 certified multi-end reeling units, replace 451 handlooms and upgrade 1,860 looms in the silk belt of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka,’ Maran said.

Of the 40 textile parks sanctioned under the public-private partnership (PPP) model, 21 of them, including the DITP have been commissioned till date.

‘The 40 parks, being set up with an investment of Rs.20,000 crore, are expected to generate about 500,000 jobs in the textile sector on commissioning,’ Maran asserted.

The central government is also setting up 110 apparel training and development centres in the garment manufacturing areas across the country to meet the growing need of skilled workforce in the apparel industry.

‘Each centre will be built at a cost of Rs.20 crore to train about 5,000 skilled persons every year. About Rs.2,200 crore has been earmarked to build the training centres over the next five years,’ the minister said.

On completion, the Rs.85-crore Doddballapur park will have 75 weaving and eight apparel units that will be owned and operated by its members.

The central government contributed Rs.34 crore for the park, while the state government chipped in Rs.4.33 crore. The members will invest the balance Rs.46.67 crore.

The park will attract Rs.200 crore investment and produce textiles worth Rs.350 crore annually, besides generating employment to about 5,000 people.

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