Tripura produces 28% of the overall bamboo produced in the country. Spread over an area of 3246 square kilometers, around nineteen varieties of bamboo are found in Tripura's forests. Added to this, are the skilled artisans who have their hands on bamboo for years.
Adding value to this natural resource and providing livelihood to these local artisans, Tripura Rehabilitation Plantation Corporation (TRPC) along with Bamboo Crafts Development Institute (BCDI) and Centre for Forest Livelihood and Extension (CFLE) has introduced new bamboo bottles in the state. The bottles are being promoted under the PMVDVK and NBM schemes. On June 26th, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb introduced the bottles in social media through a tweet.
Since then, it has become the talk of social media. With the first batch of bottles shipped to different parts of the country, the bottles are becoming popular all over the world. Following this, orders have even come in from abroad -- including the US and Dubai. Renowned Bollywood actress Raveena Tandon was among the first to order an shipment, which she revealed in a tweet.
Just ordering mine! Have you? pic.twitter.com/r6b0efE9FC— Raveena Tandon (@TandonRaveena) June 26, 2020
An IFS officer and Chairperson of TRPC, Prasada Rao Vaddarapu is the mastermind behind this project. After conducting a detailed study for almost eight months, he and his team identified a variety of bamboo which could be used for manufacturing bottles. Ten master craftsmen were initially trained who later trained another thousand craftsmen who jointly finished manufacturing the bottles. The artisans were from Simna, Mohanpur, Subalsingh para, and other villages of West Tripura and Khowai districts. By involving local artisans, the project aims to improve their livelihoods as well as the employment opportunities in Tripura.
These bottles have given some respite to researchers working on developing sustainable alternatives to plastic. The design of these bottles is such that the outer lining is of bamboo and the inner lining is of copper, steel, or glass. Citing this as a unique feature, Rao says, "It's a unique project. There are some bamboo bottles from China available in the market but they use cheap and light bamboo columns to make the bottle. Water or other liquid is directly stored in them leading to bad odour, fungi build-up that might be toxic for the body." Even in treating the bamboo, neem, turmeric, and other herbal items are used, Rao added.
The handcrafted leakproof bottles come in four sizes- 300ml, 500ml, 750ml, and 1000ml and are priced between Rs.700 and Rs.1200, excluding tax and shipping charges.