Punjab to issue licence to 5,600 wood factories
IN ORDER to boost agro-forestry, the Punjab government has got the approval of the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) to issue licences to 5,651 existing wood-based industries (WBIs) in the state. These WBIs included 5,290 saw mills, 139 veneer mills, 203 plywood factories and 19 other units, and the licences would be issued to these units on the basis of one-time payment. As many as 360 WBIs, that were established after October 30, 2002, were closed down in the state on the orders of the Supreme Court, according to which no state or Union Territory could permit any unlicensed saw mill, veneer, or plywood industry to operate, without the prior permission of the Central Empowered Committee. The chief secretary of the state or the administrative head of the UT will ensure strict compliance of this direction, it added. In Punjab, 32 lakh cubic metres of wood is available per year, and the total consumption of these WBIs was 28 lakh cubic metres per year. According to Tikshan Sood, minister for forest & wildlife preservation, Punjab, for the consumption of the surplus 4 lakh cubic metres of wood, approximately 200 new industrial units may be set up, which would generate direct and indirect employment to thousands of youths. “The state government is also studying the possibilities of setting up plywood factories at the behest of the Punjab Forest Corporation. The move can motivate more and more farmers to plant trees. This will enable the corporation to fix the MSP of agro-forestry products,” he said.