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Making Inroads into Road Construction
first thing when we hear about coir comes to our mind is traditional items like
mats, baskets and ropes, but it is not the case anymore.
the changing times and growing charm for eco-friendly products, the golden
fibre is finding new applications and is also being preferred in road construction.
increasing deforestation affecting the environment, the biodegradable
geotextiles is being used in the construction of roads.
major reasons for increased use of the natural fibre are sustainability and
(coconut fiber) geotextiles are a popular solution for erosion control, slope
stabilisation and bioengineering, due to the fabric’s substantial mechanical
as woven, meshes, nets and nonwovens, it lasts about 3 to 5 years depending on the
fabric weight. It also degrades into humus, thus, enriching the soil.
Geotextiles when used on the soft soil for construction of village roads have been
found to perform very well as reinforcement, filter, drainage and separation
materials in comparison to the conventionally used materials like synthetics, cement,
National Rural Roads Development Agency (NRRDA) has approved Central Coir Research
Institute (CCRI) as a nodal institute for application of Coir Geotextiles in
construction of rural roads.
Roads Congress (IRC), New Delhi has also given the accreditation for the use of
Coir Geotextiles in the roads for a period of 2 years with effect from 18
the evaluation of its effectiveness, inter-alia a collaborative project has
been initiated by the Central Coir Research Institute with the National Institute
of Technology, Calicut with the in-principle approval of the Airports Authority
government has already decided to use coir geo-textiles for construction of
rural roads in nine states, under the Prime Minister’s Gram Sadak Yojana
(Bharat Nirman). In the future, the project is likely to be extended to all 28
states of the country.
the popularity of the golden fibre in construction of roads, the coir industry
may face problems in catering to the huge likely demands unless adequate
measures are taken by the industry to have a decentralised production infrastructure
to cater to the huge requirements.
of the solution to this could be by taking advantage of the Anugraha loom
developed by the CCRI as the technique will come handy for development of
production infrastructure for manufacturing it.
the initiatives of the Coir Board, coir sector today is a supplier of
geotextiles. The Board is a statutory body established by the government under
a legislation enacted by the Parliament namely, Coir Industry Act 1953, for the
promotion and development of coir industry in India.
promote this segment, the Board has also established a testing laboratory for
coir geotextiles at the Central Coir Research Institute, Kalavoor.
made out of coir are ideally suited for low-cost applications because coir is
available in abundance. Therefore, there is enough scope to enhance the
application. Coir fibres resemble the wood fibres in terms of physical
properties and chemical composition.
geotextiles and its related products have many applications and currently
support many civil engineering applications including roads, airfields,
railroads, embankments, retaining structures, reservoirs, canals, dams, bank
protection, coastal engineering and construction site silt fences.
geotextiles are placed at the tension surface to strengthen the soil. It is
also used for sand dune armoring to protect upland coastal property from storm
surge, wave action and flooding.
it promotes new vegetation by absorbing water and preventing top soil from drying
out. The golden fibre is a 100 percent organic naturally occurring fibre from a
renewable source obtained from coconut husk.
advantage of the coir is that it is not only hard but strongest among all
natural fibers, which can be spun and woven into different types of mattings.
(Alappuzha) is the nerve centre of Kerala’s famous coir industry where one can
see coconut husks being beaten into fibre for making beautiful mats and other
men and women are actively involved in the production of coir in Kerala. The
women are mainly involved in the yarn spinning sector and the men in the
product-weaving sector. Coir Industry enjoys the status as the largest Cottage
Industry in Kerala, giving employment to over a million people.
coir industry has been fortunate to get a boost in the form of the ever
increasing awareness about eco-protection. The eco-friendly quality of coir
will help it to hold its ground even as it battles competition from synthetic fibres
in today’s developing world.
coir Industry in India has a strong position in the export orientation since
several decades. However, the pattern of exports and its product mix has
changed drastically. With more emphasis on value-added products, the coir
sector witnessed a significant change in the total volume and value of exports.
present, coir and its products from India are exported to more than 80
countries and the US is the single largest market with a share of more than 40%
in the total export. European countries together share more than 41 % of the
the sector has been confronted with a number of problems such as lack of access
to timely and affordable credit, absence of innovative channels of financing,
low-level of technology adoption, poor brand building and marketing, low-level
of innovation and low penetration of ICT to name a few.
the 12th Five-Year Plan, the coir sector has a vision of acquiring new
dimensions by way of following broad interventions : -
of husk collection banks is essential, to ensure optimum utilisation of
raw-material. Once it is set up, the present utilisation level of coconut husks
at 40% could be enhanced to 60%.
the traditional processes of spinning and weaving by eliminating drudgery and
facilitate women to operate the machines.
of the present insurance scheme for providing compensation for accidental death
and partial/permanent disabilities along with introducing a new scheme for
health cover to coir workers to be undertaken.
technologies/machinery items developed by the research institutes to be
demonstrated and transferred to the grassroots level of the coir industry through
appropriate extension work. Technological interventions to be made through appropriate
schemes for upgradation of quality of coir and its products.
of Eco-Mark to be obtained for coir and its products, besides promoting it
widely in the international market.
Mark Scheme to be strengthened by extending the coverage of the scheme to the
entire range of coir products consigned to the domestic market.