Itanagar: An elderly village chief in Arunachal Pradesh, who apart from parenting a record number of children as state government officers, for which he and his wife Mongam Ete Padu received the ‘Governor of AP State Award for Best Parent’, has turned into a successful agri-entrepreneur at 82.
Octogenarian Pogam Padu, Head Gaon Burah of Kamdi village, West Siang, has achieved the ‘milestone’ by establishing the first natural rubber sheet manufacturing unit under the aegis of ‘Pogam Padu Rubber Estate’ at Hiri, Kamdi village near the district headquarters, Aalo. The unit was inaugurated on Sunday.
In 2007, he started growing rubber trees on an experimental basis which were procured from some nurseries of Itanagar. Then he started his own rubber plant nurseries by purchasing stumps from the Guwahati-based Manimalayar Rubber Board in 2011 and planted the money crops in 2013.
Out of seven ‘Pogam Padu Rubber Estates’, two were damaged completely due to the construction activities for the Trans-Arunachal Highway in 2016. The five existing plantations have more than 8,000 rubber trees.
Padu said he was fond of planting trees and maintaining a green environment. At the same time, he wanted a permanent source of income and hence ventured into rubber plantations. He is the first rubber grower of the West Siang district.
Later on, he received technical support from the field officers of the Rubber Board of India, Itanagar and the scientists from the Manimalayar Rubber Board. He is grateful to the state government for giving roller machines free of cost through the District Agricultural Officer of West Siang district. His rubber estates are all registered by the Rubber Board.
Padu has given a clarion call to all the villagers of Kamdi, Darka and the entire Aalo area to go for rubber plantation as a permanent occupation to improve their economic conditions, noting that rubber is called ‘white gold’ and will revolutionise society if more and more growers enter into this field instead of other seasonal and non-perennial source of income.
Among others, the inaugural ceremony was attended by former Minister Doi Ado, retired IAS officer Gamli Padu, Shi-Yomi additional deputy commissioner Gamtum Padu and West Siang district agriculture officer Margi Ete.