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From training artisans to setting up a bamboo treatment centre,Bamboovishwa is working towards promoting the use of bamboo in urban Western Maharashtra and Konkan
Moving on from traditional baskets and ladders,Bamboovishwa has trained around 150 bamboo artisans in the city,who are now skilled in making contemporary bamboo products like lampshades,railings,lounge chairs and curtain rods. Bamboovishwa was set up in 2006 by three friends – Nachiket Thakur,Hemant Bedekar and Rajendra Sapkal. All three come from different backgrounds: while Bedekar is a horticulturist,Sapkal works for the Burud community and Thakur is into conceptualising and designing bamboo products.
Their organisation acts as a platform for artisans,architects,designers,interior designers,agriculturists,forestry experts,technologists,traders,non-government organisations,government officials,consumers of bamboo products and everyone who is interested in the use of bamboo. “Our main aim is to promote bamboo in Western Maharashtra and Konkan,especially in the urban areas,” says Thakur. The organisation,that works through a networking group,is a conglomeration of 12 other organisations and around 18 individuals from different fields. Some of the organisations that are associated with it are Maval Bamboo Vikas (Talegaon),BURUD (Bamboo Utility Research Development,Hadapsar),Avanti Kalagram and Organiser,a planned nursery dedicated to bamboo.
Talking about the challenges faced by bamboo growers,artisans and interior designers who use bamboo,Thakur says,”The main problem lies in the availability of bamboo as a raw material. Besides,since bamboo comes under forest produce,transporting it involves several legalities and formalities as per the transit rules.” However,there is a silver line ahead. He adds,”At present,around 1000 hectares of land are dedicated to the plantation of bamboo in Maharashtra. And this fiscal year,National Bamboo Mission is planning to allocate another 2600 hectares of land for bamboo,that includes 600 hectares of forest land and 2000 hectares of non-forest land.” The body has issued a grant of Rs 4.3 crores for the plantation programme.
As part of its bamboo-promoting activities,the group gathers to celebrate World Bamboo Day on September 18. The day is marked by various programmes,presentations and discussions about bamboo. Bamboovishwa is glad that with time,people are getting acquainted with the various uses of bamboo. “Various interior designers are finding creative ways to incorporate bamboo in order to lend a traditional touch to their projects,” says Thakur.
The group has a bamboo treatment centre at Hadapsar. “Once the bamboo is grown and cut,it has to be treated well so that it has a long life and is also insect-free,” explains Thakur.
Revealing the road ahead,Thakur says that Bamboovishwa plans to set up more outlets in the city that will showcase works of artisans associated with it.
While many treat it as a tree,in reality,bamboo belongs to the grass family. As with other grasses,in bamboo too,the internodal regions of the plant stem are hollow and the vascular bundles in the cross section are scattered throughout the stem instead of in a cylindrical arrangement.