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 A veritable 'tusser revolution' is in the making in Madhya Pradesh these days. The area under tusser silk production in the state has increased from a mere 3000 hectares to about 24 thousand hectares during the last three years.

As a result, Madhya Pradesh has now moved to 5th place from 7th in the country in tusser silk production. It has become possible due to effective implementation of Resolve-29 adopted in the special session of Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha in year 2009.

Acting on the resolve, Forest Department and Directorate of Sericulture started working in tandem. First, a survey was conducted on the areas where trees of Arjun and Saja are found in abundance.

It was found in the survey that the number of these trees is about 12 crore in the state. Targets were fixed and implemented immediately. In the year 2010-11, tusser was produced in 9000 hectares against the target of 5000 hectares. As many as 5 crore 82 lakh cocoons were produced in the year 2012-13 in about 24 thousand hectare.

Till the year 2009-10, only 5-6 districts produced tusser silk. It is now being produced in 32 districts. For this, proper training has also been imparted to beneficiaries. Tusser silk is mainly produced in Balaghat, Mandla, Narsinghpur, Hoshangabad, Chhindwara, Betul, Sehore and Harda districts in the state. In forests areas, one hectare each is assigned to people, specially tribals. These people let eggs hatch on trees.

Caterpillars coming out of the eggs are mounted on trees. The beneficiary looks after them staying in jungles for 35-40 days. This preserves caterpillars as well as the forests. Beneficiaries then sell the developed cocoons to the Sericulture Department. As a result, an income of Rs 10 thousand to Rs. 40 thousand accrues to each family within every three months. Every family earns upto Rs. 1 lakh per annum. At present, about 30 thousand people are benefiting from this occupation. These include about 80 percent tribals.

This year, about Rs. 6 crore was provided to beneficiaries. Each cocoon contains about a kilometer long thread. As many as 19 thread spinning units have been set up in the state during the last three years. These units provide regular employment to about 1500 women. In the next two years, the entire thread will be spun in Madhya Pradesh itself.

Sunil Kr. Tiwari, Indore

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