Uncultivated and unutilised temple lands in Tamil Nadu will soon generate income for the temples with the State government allocating the land to Tamil Nadu Newsprint and Papers to raise tree plantations for pulp wood.
TNPL, a public sector, listed company, is among the largest paper and board manufacturers in India with a total installed production capacity of about 6 lakh tonnes a year distributed across two units.
The Government has allocated about 3,600 acres of temple lands across the State belonging to over 15 temples to the company to raise pulp wood plantations.
According to a government order, TNPL has a 15-year agreement, providing for a 30 per cent gross revenue share to the temple, to enable it raise pulp wood tree plantations such as eucalyptus and casuarina. TNPL will handle the entire cost of land development, planting and maintenance.
The company needs the wood to make pulp, the raw material for paper production.
As of now these lands are either unutilised or have been encroached. The State government Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department that oversees the temples hopes to bring these lands into productive use and enable the temples earn revenue through this arrangement.
According to estimates, the paper manufacturer will be able to raise about 50,000 tonnes of pulpwood from the 3,600 crore, in a five-year cycle which means a total potential output of about 1.5 lakh tonnes. (As of today, TNPL pays ₹5,000 per tonne of pulp wood sourced from farmers.) Nearly one-third the value of this will go to the temples.
TNPL is a major consumer of pulp wood with nearly 1.12 lakh acres of under pulp wood cultivation through tie ups with more than 22,000 farmers. It gets about one-third of its pulp wood, about 1.5 lakh tonnes, from farmers who sell it at market rate.
The company also uses about 14 lakh tonnes of bagasse, the fibrous part from sugarcane, as a raw material, in paper making.
Since 2009-10 the company has procured about 9 lakh tonnes of wood from farmers. It also has a nursery and tissue culture production unit to supply high yielding tree saplings to farmers. Last year alone it supplied more than one crore plants.
TNPL has two manufacturing facilities, a 4-lakh-tonnes-a-year printing paper unit in Karur, which makes it the largest paper mill in India at one location, and a 2-lakh-tonne-a-year packaging board plant in Tiruchi. Captive source of wood pulp is a key factor in assuring raw material security for the company. (EOM)