Disengaging IPIRTI From MOEF, Industry Will Have To Come Forward Sincerely

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IPIRTI has been solely dedicated institution for Plywood & Panel products in India, that has given a lot to India’s wood panel sector to grow and obtain self dependency. With Government planning to disengage IPIRTI from Ministry of Environment & Forest, scientists and related people are not convinced. Amidst ongoing issue, the fact coming up is; Plywood & Panel Industries have to come forward to support IPIRTI, if they want technology….

Government is planning to ‘disengage’ Indian Plywood Industries Research & Training Institute (IPIRTI) along with five premier environment- forest-wildlife institutions of the country from the ministry of environment and forest (MoEF). The disengagement has been proposed by the department of expenditure (ministry of finance) after a review of 16 autonomous bodies under MoEF. A proposal has been issued to MoEF with details of the recommendations made by the department of expenditure regarding government disengagement.

As per the memorandum, ‘disengagement’ will involve two aspects - phasing out government support to the institution in a time-bound manner, disassociating from the management of the institution in a timebound manner, disassociating from the management of the institutions and allowing the relevant industry/ stakeholders to run them. The recommendations further added that the central government should withdraw from these bodies within a three year timeline and a gradual budget reduction of 25% each year.

The report of disengagement has created a ripple effect in the entire wood panel and plywood sector along with wood technologists, scientists, staff members of IPIRTI, wood consultants, researchers, etc. IPIRTI is only institute in the country doing research, training and testing activities related to the panel products from wood and other lignocellulosic materials. There are around 75 employees requiring more than Rs.10 crores for salary maintenance etc, However, the earning of all the sources does not exceed about Rs.1 crore per annum which may further go down after disengagement from government body. Hence its survival may not be possible and the disengagement of IPIRTI from MoEF&CC will also stop leading to no further such activities in the country. Hence, all are sought to retain the current status of IPIRTI as an Autonomous body of MoEF&CC.

Senior technocrat Mr. Anand Amrik Singh said, “Industry had nurtured this institute as its child by investing & devoting their time & energy to bring the institutes to desired level of excellence. Scientific foundation built by industry to cater to its needs by inducting Scientists if different discipline to make it multi speciality institute. Now without taking different stakeholders in to confidence & job security of scientists is being put into jeopardy. Situation is indeed very grave& Institute should not be destroyed with such rash & reckless action. No action should be taken without consulting industry & scientists on future of IPIRTI. Last but not least industries like Greenply, CenturyPly, etc could survive holocaust because of their own strength & built in infrastructure & contribution of MoEF&CC. Others bear minimum, they took almost two decade to get out of trauma to reach at present level. For faster & correct directional development, the co-operation & discussions with all stake holders is essential. If the authorities understand it sooner would be better for our nation.”

Dr M P Singh, Ex Director IPIRTI advises that First attempt is about the status quo with some riders, which may come in the form of sustaining its activities from own revenue including interest from the corpus fund except the salary. Second option is merging with ICFRE that will apply to WII and IIFM as well. With merger, one forum in the form of BoG or Society available to industries for interaction with MoEF&CC at the highest level should not be lost. May IPIRTI society can be modified as a broader forum for all wood based industries say Wood Council of India (WCI). We have to be ready for options. Disengagement with no willingness from the institutions and its stakeholders can't be an option since it amounts to making them unsustainable.”

Without taking different stakeholders in to confidence & job security of scientists is being put into jeopardy. Situation is indeed very grave& Institute should not be destroyed with such rash & reckless action. No action should be taken without consulting industry & scientists on future of IPIRTI.

Mr Suneel Pandey, VP, ITC views that MoEF has given 4 years time to disengage itself from funding the institution and he is really in favour of what MoEF and GOI have decided. All stakeholders should now sit together along with its Board to work out a plan for future of the institution. Based on value add to different stakeholders, they should come forward to fund the institute basis need and relevance of different research activities. GOI should also fund for some fundamental research areas which may be relevant for future, but may not be immediately relevant for industry stakeholders. This will ensure that IPIRTI works for research projects relevant for stakeholders and stakeholders pay for the same. This is the need of the hour and will also ensure long term survival of the institution.

Dr S K Nath, Ex Joint Director of IPIRTI opines that his rich industrialists have taken granted that technology is like solar rays which will be pouring for ever when needed. It is not going to happen. No product can last ever in market without improvement of quality and no industry can survive without R&D. IPIRTI was brought to existence by the plywood industry to have a sound footing of the industry. The industry will need it for its future existence also. In fact all research activities, trained manpower, test activities, visit to factory - all benefit goes to industry. What will the industry say tomorrow?

Dr. C N Pandey Ex Director, IPIRTI has confidence that IPIRTI and Panel industry is made for each other. They are so intertwined that they cannot be separated. Rest assured IPIRTI will be in better position in future with the support of Industry

Mr. S. C. Sahoo from IPIRTI Kolkata says that IPIRTI is one of the premier R&D organisation in India under MoEF&CC concentrating applied research on wood, engineered wood products, composites from agro forestry and bamboo products etc. and providing consultancy, technology transfer etc. to wood based panel industries to improve the quality, new products, processes, environmental protection, energy saving etc. IPIRTI is working on ecologically adhesive, green preservatives, minimizing harmful gas emission to protect environment pollution. IPIRTI provides training via one yr and short training courses and creating job opportunities to fresher’s by providing almost 100% placement. Disengaging from MOEF&CC as per govt. order will impact an adverse effect on R&D, Training, testing etc. so that more than 3500 wood based panel industries will suffer. Hence govt should withdraw the order of disengagement decision and should retain under MOEF&CC as earlier.

Mr. S C Jolly, President, Wood Technologists Association also demands to support IPIRTI, which has significant role for the development and technical support to Indian Wood Panel Industry. The support to IPIRTI would help for Government mission of Atmanirbhar Bharat.

Indian Plywood Industries Research and Training Institute (IPIRTI) with its headquarter at Bengaluru is a unique research Institute of national importance engaged in research, training, testing and extension activities in the field of wood including agro/forest residues and bamboo based panel products which is considered far better for environment than non-renewable materials such as steel, concrete, plastics etc. The Institute has also been recognized as Centre of Excellence scheme of the Ministry during the Academic Audit of IPIRTI during 2016.

The Institute’s Research, Training and Outreach programmes are aligned with the governments thrust on climate change mitigation, increasing farmers income, skill development, import substitution, Make in India. IPIRTI is well recognized research institute being instrumental in developing various technologies in the field of wood and other lignocellulosic composites. Due to the recognition as a Government Body under MoEF&CC, IPIRTI has been receiving the project sponsored from the Industries and Government Bodies.

IPIRTI is running only one year post graduate diploma course since 1989 with nominal fees, an intake of 30 youths/candidates which mainly belong to rural and semi urban regions of the country. The cost incurred in conducting this course is manifold higher than the fee collected. This training course is being conducted only to cater to the needs of the society and develop human resource. IPIRTI is such a Research Institute, which has successfully implemented various technology related to wood and wood based panel products from the laboratory to the factory floor for commercialization.

There are around 75 employees requiring more than Rs.10 crores for salary maintenance etc, However, the earning of all the sources does not exceed about Rs.1 crore per annum which may further go down after disengagement from government body. Hence its survival may not be possible and the disengagement of IPIRTI from MoEF&CC will also stop leading to no further such activities in the country

Personnel’s after completing their PGD course from IPIRTI are serving the plywood and panel industries.

It is the technology & trained manpower with the support of IPIRTI that the wood panel industry has learnt rational use of wood and can manufacture world class plywood & other wood based products. It is the institute which has developed bamboo based technologies by which bamboo has find its place from handicrafts to the big industries. IPIRTI has developed technologies to utilize agro-residues into value added commercial products. IPIRTI was established by the industries and it is time for the industry to come forward to approach MoEF&CC to continue the institute under the present status. The wood based panel industries are solely dependent on IPIRTI for all technological support and standardization activities.

90% of the Indian plywood & panel industries are unorganized sectors and few industries are well established and those few cannot support full Funding to IPIRTI for its Survival. Also IPIRTI needs to consider for the upliftment of unorganized sectors through Research and Trained Manpower and hence the survival of the Institute is very essential.

 

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