Tamil Nadu Papers Limited, Karur, has procured 8,000 tonnes of pulpwood from casuarina and eucalyptus trees felled by Gaja in Pudukottai, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam districts.
Following the announcement by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami that TNPL will extend its support to affected plantation farmers, TNPL began sourcing pulpwood from 19 centres: nine in Pudukottai, four in Thanjavur, one in Tiruvarur and five in Nagapattinam district. A procurement target of one lakh tonnes has been set. The process will continue for the next two to three months, official sources say.
The first preference in procurement is being given to casuarina trees bore higher brunt, a senior official said. While casuarina wood is sourced for ₹5,575 per tonne, eucalyptus fetches ₹5,000, and the amounts apply only when delivered at the factory gate. In the event of TNPL meeting the transport cost, a deduction of ₹1,190 per tonne is made for loads transported from Pudukottai district, ₹1,240 from Thanjavur and ₹1,450 from Nagapattinam district.
Pulpwood can be sourced only from trees that have wood with a diameter of five cm and above. Trees with lesser girth serve no purpose, and only have the utility value of firewood, an official said, seeking to put at rest apprehensions raised by a section of farmers that the wood pulp of the two tree varieties are being procured at throwaway prices.
The TNPL is going ahead with procurement irrespective of whether the farmers had a contract farming agreement. TNPL’s Plantation department implements two contract farming models: farm forestry scheme wherein small and marginal farmers are motivated to establish plantation and maintain till harvest, and captive scheme under which the company has MoU with land owners for establishing plantation in their land either on lease rental or gross revenue sharing basis.
The pulpwood sourced from plantation sources is the least for meeting raw material demand. According to official records, the company obtained raw materials to the extent of 49% from government sources, 12 % from plantation sources and 39 % from market sources. Under the farm forestry scheme, TNPL supplies superior quality seedlings/ clones to farmers at subsidised price and delivers plants at farmers’ land. It offers technical assistance free of cost. Under the captive scheme, it takes on long-term lease the land (minimum 25 acres) from private entities or government departments on revenue sharing basis of 70:30 (TNPL: Farmer).