Tripura is a small State of India in the cosy lap of the Himalayas. It is a wonderland of natural beauty and it is rich in its forest-wealth. About forty per cent of this hilly State is a forest which supplies a lot of bamboos, canes and logs of wood. There are dales and slopes of the hilly areas too where tea gardens and rubber plantations can be flourished.
On the basis of the available raw materials, there is a variety of industrial prospects in Tripura such as tea industry, rubber industry, paper mill, sugar mill etc. Under the enterprise of the Forest Development Corporation of Tripura, about 500 hectares of land have been brought under rubber plantation.
Tea production is another important industry which provides employment to about ten thousand Tripuris.
At present, there are about 2,000 Small-scale industries in Tripura. Among them, the most remarkable are the factories of leather, PVC pipes, and fruit preservation. There is a jute mill in the State but its production is not satisfactory.
A paper mill has been set up at Kumarghat. Its production capacity is about 250 tons a day.
There is a sugar mill at Bagda and it is gradually flourishing. There are also medium size industries which produce aluminium utensils, steel furniture, dry battery cells, etc.
The handloom textile industry is the most developed one. It produces mainly bed-clothes, bed-sheets, screens, skirts etc.
The cottage industry of bamboo and cane is also flourishing, The bamboo-made and cane-made articles and the handloom textiles are in great demand within and outside the State.
As Tripura is a beauty spot of nature, tourism may also be developed into a promising tourism industry.
But the inadequate transport system is a great disadvantage for growing more and more industries in Tripura. It is surrounded by Bangladesh on three sides. Many large towns in Bangladesh are within 150 km of the towns in Tripura as can be seen from the following :
Agartala — Dhaka: 150 km; Kailasahar — Sylhet: 90 km; Sabroom — Chittagong: 75 km; Sonamura—Comilla: 11 km.
If the road transport be improved and the railways are extended up to Tripura through other provinces of India and Bangladesh, industrial expansion is sure to follow. Perhaps, it is the best solution to the problems which stand as a bar against industrial prospects of Tripura.
We know — Industries are of three types — (a) large scale industries, (b) small scale industries, and (c) cottage industries, Among them the cottage industries hold an important place in Tripura’s economic life. Tripura is a small State of India but it is rich in forest wealth. About forty per cent of this hilly State is a forest which supplies a lot of bamboos, canes and logs of wood. As a result, the cottage industries of Tripura have flourished with the help of these raw materials. Moreover, there are good craftsmen of cottage industries in Tripura.
However, the cottage industries of Tripura may be grouped in three categories — (a) necessaries in daily life such as making mats, baskets, winnowing tools, hand-made fans, pen-holders, etc., (b) furniture goods such as wall panels, chairs, tables, etc., (c) other handicrafts such as handloom industry, rope industry, and sericulture.
The handloom industry is the most developed of all these handicrafts. It produces bedclothes, bed-sheets, screens, skirts etc. The cottage industry of bamboo and cane is also flourishing. The bamboo-made and cane-made articles such as mats, baskets, etc. are in great demand in Tripura and other States.
Of late, the Government of Tripura has taken several steps to encourage the cottage industry by providing financial and other help to the craftsmen. The Tripura Handloom and Handicrafts Development Corporation and some other cooperative marketing societies are also offering their helping hands to the craftsmen in marketing their goods.
It may be noted that the State has a vast pool of educated/trained manpower. This can be turned into an advantage, by suitably deploying this easily available manpower to meet the industrial needs. But inadequate transport system is still a bar to the speedy development of cottage industries in Tripura.