The softening of the law for opening up new plywood manufacturing units in Punjab was strongly opposed by the industry players specially plywood manufacturers. Last month the government had proposed to de-license the plywood manufacturing industry. Existing manufacturers were worried about short supply due to shortage of timber to their existing units due to the coming up of wood based manufacturing units and clusters after the new rules. The Punjab state forest department has taken initiative to conduct a survey for the availability of Eucalyptus and Poplar trees in the state after the industry representative meeting with Punjab forest department and FRI, Dehradun officials.
A group of Punjab Plywood Manufacturers had strongly opposed the government intention as the main features of the new rules included Agro forestry species such as Poplur, Eucalyptus, Drek, Mulberry, Subabul, Silver Oak, Malabar Neem, Khejri, Indian Willow, Gamari to be exempted from the purview of Timber Transit regime (this provision was not there in previous rules) along with exemption of Bamboo grown on private lands from the purview of Timber Transit Regime. In the meeting with forest officials, PPMA representatives said that the new rules will not only severely hit the plywood industry but would also pose a danger to the forest cover. Mr Indrajeet Singh Sohal, President, PPMA said that since 2014 a lot of change has happened in the industry and now there is an acute shortage of Safeda (eucalyptus) and Poplar timber in Punjab due to which the prices have gone double in just one year period.