Import restrictions on Agarbati sticks make Tripura smile

Import restrictions on Agarbati sticks make Tripura smile

Agency News

Agartala, Sep 2 : With the import restrictions on bamboo sticks, widely used for incense stick making purpose by Ministry of Commerce and Industries, Tripura government expressed happiness and said the decision will re-boost value addition activities of bamboo in the state.

Officials here today stated following persuasion of the state government, Centre has amended the Import Policy by shifting the import of Agarbati sticks from free to restricted category. Tripura was the biggest Agarbati stick supplier of the country and more than 80 per cent of the sticks had gone from the state to Karnataka till 2000.

Afterwards, bamboo production in the state was severely affected for 5-7 yrs due to natural cycle and in the meantime, the Central government in its Trade Policy of 2015-20 kept incensed sticks and similar products were into free import category that opened up China and Vietnam to capture Indian market using sea routes in the Bay of Bengal.

“The incense sticks produced in Tripura used to sell at Rs 80 per kg in Bangaluru factories, was suddenly dropped down to Rs 60 per kg due to huge and regular import of sticks from other countries at a cheap rate. About one lakh families who had been directly involved in the incense stick making work in the eighties and nineties of Tripura became jobless,” the officials stated.

However, after the creation of bamboo mission in the state, bamboo production has increased in many folds but the market was expanded proportionately. Last year, after the declaration of bamboo as green grass by the centre, a new ray of hope came into the bamboo industry in Tripura and persuasion for putting a restriction on incense sticks import was started and finally, on Aug 31 last the notification stating incense stick as restricted import item has come out.

According to statistics, in 2018-19, only 1241 MT incense sticks were sent to South Indian states, Gujarat Rajasthan from Tripura due to stiff price competition from the imported sticks. However, after issuing import barrier on the sticks, Tripura Bamboo Mission has already started re-activate the business in rural areas, officials added. (UNI)