Rapidly expanding cities in urban India are fighting many battles and are struggling to ensure sustainable development in order to induce a positive lifestyle. Showing the way forward and giving courage to win such a battle is Dhriiti, a progressive measure to build and motivate a culture of entrepreneurship and set up sustainable small-scale enterprises. Established in 2004 in the capital city of Delhi, Dhriiti’s primary objective is to promote micro enterprises through a creative and professional approach.

Setting up a sustainable small-scale enterprise that promotes sustainable development and contributes towards saving the environment is what Dhriiti has achieved in the Northeastern state of Assam. According to Dhriiti, unemployment is the root cause of increasing insurgency and terrorism in Assam and it is very important to divert the attention of the youth of this region towards gainful and productive activity. The way out of the unemployment and insurgency scenario is to promote self employment amongst the youth of rural Assam by encouraging and supporting them to set up their own micro enterprises.

The Micro Enterprise Development and Management (MEDM) Division of Dhriiti has been promoting Arecanut leaf plate manufacturing in the North Eastern state of Assam and Meghalaya since November 2004. After identifying the potential of the arecanut leaf plate industry in the Northeast in 2004, Dhriiti started off with its own pilot production unit at Barpeta in February 2005. Today, both these Northeastern states are proudly manufacturing and supplying the eco-friendly products made from arecanut leaf to various parts of the country.

Tambul plates and bowls are being made out of the sheaths from the arecanut (supari) tree. These disposable utensils can then be used for serving and eating food and are much superior than the usual pattal plates and do not damage the environment as does thermacol. Some of the qualities of Tambul plates are as follows:

  • Completely Eco-friendly
  • Bio-degradable and Compostable
  • Chemical free and Non-Toxic
  • Hygienic
  • Natural and attractive appearance
  • Microwave-oven & Refrigerator safe
  • Sturdy and light which makes it possible to use in buffet parties
  • Can hold liquid for 3-4 hours

The Arecanut palm is one of the important commercial crops of Assam. Though the betel nut is used widely in various forms yet the sheath attached to the leaf of arecanut tree is not used for any productive purpose at present. Arecanut sheaths (extension of the leaf) can be utilised for manufacturing disposable plates and bowls is an idea picked up from states in South India who have been manufacturing them since almost a decade.

Presently, a total of 39 units are promoted by Dhriiti in the Northeast which include Barpeta, Baska, Bongaigoan, Karbianglong, Jorhat and Golaghat district of Assam. These units are producing and selling these products successfully and also helping in the cause of ensuring a greener lifestyle for urban dweller while generating employment for the rural folks.

Image source: Dhriiti

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