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INTERVIEW WITH AJAY TAMTA, MOS, TEXTILES

Forty four year old union minister of state for textiles Ajay Tamta was a single new comer in Modi’s cabinet representing entire Uttarakhand when about a year and a half ago he was picked (up) by the prime minister Narendra Modi, surprising one and all, especially the three former chief ministers of Uttarakhand, who are now MPs and were very much aspiring to be the union ministers from the hill quota, finally finding their all hopes crushed with a bang. Though new at the centre, this former MLA and minister in Major General Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri’s cabinet twice in UK, dalit leader and popular MP from Almora reserve, Ajay Tamta is doing extremely well active in his constitency, entire Uttarakhand, in the state elections of Gujarat and Himachal, in facebook and twitter praising Modi’s policies, actions, foreign visits and every single official pronouncements. Tamta recently, ( in the month of October) accompanied President Ramnath Kovind in his first overseas 5 day visit of two African nations Djibouti and Ethiopia on the recommendation on prime minister Modi. This speaks of the fact about his being in the good books of the prime minister.

While his senior minister for textiles Smriti Irani remains more entangled and pre occupied in the ministry of I& B its he, Ajay Tamta who concentrates more n more in the ministerial works as well, to fill that void by sharing the larger responsibilities of his Textile ministry. Soft spoken, affable, well read and sharp, Tamta answers questions posed to him with quite ease and confidence. Taking immense interest in the research and innovative works of his ministry in handloom development Ajay Tamta has taken a special initiative to make adequate, constructive and positive use of pine tree needles that are found in abundance in Uttarakhand, for first extracting terpentine oil from them and later on using the waste residue to produce fine quality paper type designer bags for carrying stuffs which is disposable like paper bags and extremely environmental friendly. In Uttarakhand pine needles naturally come down on the land from pine trees and are in myriad quantity.

If unused they not only make the land slippery and barren completely blocking cultivation but also play the combustible role of petrol during jungle fires thus resulting in damaging vast tracts of jungles. Ajay Tamta’s innovative initiative has not only led to rightful use of these otherwise useless needles which will further give employment to local populace but will also help in earning monetory profits out of this venture. Answering a question pertaining to his ministry’s contribution in the development of the himalayan state, Ajay Tamta revealed that a sum of Rupees 5 crores has already been sanctioned by the textile ministry for setting up of a textile factory at Dinapani in Almora, Uttarakhand that will produce fine cloth from the natural fibre. About fifty naali land for the proposed project has already been acquired and about 200 local personels would be given employment in this industrial unit.

The minister said – after assuming the charge as minister I came to know that the clothes prepared from the threads of leelam and raimy are highly expensive, high in demand but the raw material for the same has to be imported from Belgiam. Since then he made up his mind to get the raw material manufactured within the country. He discussed the possibilities with the scientists of Pant Nagar Agricultural University, Vivekanand Agricultural Research Centre, Almora and Research institutes of Pratapgarh etc.

As asked by the scientists we got the seeds of leelan and raimy produced first and then planted their trees (plants). The agricultural scientists were finally succesful in retrieving 5.5 quintal of fibres from these sources. This is a huge break through and the time is not far when this succesful achievement/ experment would be replicated elsewhere in Uttarakhand and all over India. Praising the policies and the leadership of prime minister India, Narendra Modi Ajay Tamta said that time is not far when India will be a global leader as Modi’s efforts and diplomacy on International scenerio has started showing positve results especially in the context of China who had to finally back track on Doklam issue and the world’s mighty super power USA unshakingly standing with India.

He congratulated the Uttarakhand government for initiating various new pro people initiatives and hope that people initiatives of the state would be positively benefitted in the health, education and the employment sector, the basic requirements of the people for which the state of Utarakhand actually came into existence after so much of sacrifices.

SUNIL NEGI