Technology vital for growth of traditional industries: Chief Minister

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 21: The adoption of modern practices and technologies is essential for the survival of traditional industries such as coir, Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Oommen Chandy said today.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Advanced Centre for Automated Microbial Characterization at the National Coir Research Management Institute’s (NCRMI) in Kudappanakunnu here, the Chief Minister said the coir sector, which provides employment for lakhs of people, is facing challenges on multiple fronts, including critical shortage of raw material.

New technologies, such as the automated system that NCRMI has introduced, can help resolve issues with production and quality that must be addressed to make Kerala coir competitive in the global market.

“Our foremost objective is to improve the lot of people whose livelihood is dependent on this sector, and adopting all means to fuel its growth is the only way forward,” he said.

Hon’ble Minister for Revenue and Coir Shri Adoor Prakash, who presided over the function, said research at the new facility at NCRMI will focus on softening coir fibres to improve their quality and to make them more versatile.

“Coir will not be the only industry benefiting from this laboratory. We have plans to extend R&D activities at this centre to benefit other sectors, particularly agriculture,” the Minister said.

Delivering the keynote address, Shri K Muraleedharan MLA said technological advancements must also be harnessed to minimise the public health and environmental impacts of the coir industry.  He said people are more open to new technologies now than before and it is the right time to revive traditional industries and bring them up to modern times.

The new facility has been set up at NCRMI as part of the ongoing efforts to enhance research and development activities in the coir sector across Kerala as part of the growing competition in this field.

The equipment at the first-of-its-kind laboratory enables automated identification and characterization of the microorganisms; the current technology used is time consuming and laborious.

Dr. K. Madanan, Director of Coir Development; Smt Rekha Khanna, Managing Director of Biomerieux India; Shri C. Venugopalan Nair, Chairman of Foam Mattings Ltd; Adv. D. Bhanudevan, Executive Committee member of NCRMI; Shri John Chacko, president of FICEO spoke on the occasion.  Smt Rani George, Secretary (Coir), delivered the welcome address and Shri K. R. Anil, Director of NCRMI proposed thanks.

Two technical sessions on ‘Solid phase flow cytometry—In analytical microbiology’ and ‘Identification and strain typing guidelines’ were held for microbiologists as part of the inauguration of the new centre.

Dr. Peethambaran C. K; B. Suresh Kumar, Smt. Priyanka Sen were among the panel of experts attending the technical sessions. Shri K. Sreedharan, Controller of Administration, NCRMI, proposed the vote of thanks.

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