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Tata Steel’s Sukinda Chromite Mine to Help Conserve Indigenous Tasar Silkworm Breed Sukinda Ecorace

Jamshedpur, May 23, 2016
-Experts and tassar farmers deliberate on way forward while celebrating International Day of Biological Diversity-

While celebrating International Day of Biological Diversity here today, Sukinda Chromite Mine (SCM) of Tata Steel, located at Sukinda block of Jajpur district in Odisha, has come forward to take steps to conserve the indigenous silkworm breed Sukinda Ecorace in line with this year’s theme‘Mainstreaming Biodiversity; Sustaining People and their Livelihoods’.

Out of eight breeds of silkworms available in Odisha, hundreds of farmers in the region depend on tasar farming of Sukinda Ecorace for their livelihood. However since 2007, when Tasar Rearers’ Cooperative Societyof Sukinda had reared Sukinda Ecorace, this is now rarely seen as another breed -Daba TV- has almost replaced it with more yields. The natural habitat of superior Sukinda Ecorace breed is Sukinda region where the forest type is tropical moist deciduous and the soil type is red loamy.

While the experts of Pilot Project Centre(PPC), Sukinda under Directorate of Textile, Government of Odisha and Regional Extension Centre of Central Silk Board (CSB), Baripada, under Government of India have started working on conservation of the specie, SCM has come forward to join hands with them to contribute its bit to save this superior indigenous breed and promote biodiversity. Areas that need urgent intervention for it is being worked out, particularly identifying forest patches of the region where this breed is naturally available,facilitating more cocoon grainages and raising nursery for its primary food plants like Arjun (Terminalia Arjuna) and Asana (Terminalia Tomentosa) ,etc. are also being explored.

Appreciating SCM for the initiative, Dr Prashant Kar, Scientist, CSB, who had joined as guest on the occasion said, conservation of this indigenous variety of silkworm is highly essential to preserve our biodiversity and to increase tasar productivity. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Ajay Patra, Assistant Director, Sericulture,Government of Odisha, said it is matter of concern for all of us as the population of Sukinda Ecorace has gone down drastically, serious efforts are required to help conserve the specie.

Elaborating SCM’s commitment to National Biodiversity Target Mr Pankaj Satija, General Manager,Operations, Ferro Alloys and Minerals Division, Tata Steel said we have been creating awareness on biodiversity by regularly organising various programmes and we will continue to collaborate with local government agencies for protection and promotion of Sukinda Ecorace to help the local farmers and contribute to biological diversity of the region.

Around 100 tasar farmers of Sukinda and Bamnipal area had attended the interactive session with the experts including Mr S C Behera, Technical Inspector, PPC, Sukinda, Mr Ashis Chakraborty of noted NGO PRADAN, Mr P K Mohapatra, Secretary, Tasar Rearers’ Cooperative Society, Bagahmunda, Keonjhar. Cocoon grainage, lifecycle of silkworm, tasar weaving and reeling machine and finished tasar products by the weavers were displayed at the side-line of function. Smt Draoupadi Tiria, a national award winning local tasar farmer and 9other farmers who had exemplary harvest of tasar were felicitated on the occasion.

Tata Steel Rural Development Society (TSRDS), the CSR wing of the steel major, is already providing support to more than 420 tasar farmers near Bamnipal through training, exposure visit, monitoring and by providing tools and accessories helping them earn Rs 70.57 lakh in 2015-16. The support has recently been extended to Mangalpur area of Sukinda block.

Being the first mine in the country to roll out Sustainable Development Framework in January 2016, a concept proposed and promoted by the Ministry of Mines, Government of India, for the development of culture of sustainable mining in the country, SCM has been organising series of events to contribute to National Biodiversity Targets like Spot the Species, Leaf Identification, Green Therapy, Jaibakala Vividhata, Prajatiya Khadyotsav and recently launched an awareness campaign on “Snakes are Friends”.

About Tata Steel
Established in 1907 as Asia's first integrated private sector steel company, Tata Steel Group is among the top global steel companies with an annual crude steel capacity of nearly 30 million tonnes per annum (MnTPA). It is now the world's second-most geographically-diversified steel producer, with operations in 26 countries and a commercial presence in over 50 countries. The Tata Steel Group, with a turnover of US$ 22.32 billion in FY15, has over 80,000 employees across five continents and is a Fortune 500 company. The Group’s vision is to be the world’s steel industry benchmark in “Value Creation” and “Corporate Citizenship” through the excellence of its people, its innovative approach and overall conduct. Underpinning this vision is a performance culture committed to aspiration targets, safety and social responsibility, continuous improvement, openness and transparency. In 2008, Tata Steel India became the first integrated steel plant in the world, outside Japan, to be awarded the Deming Application Prize 2008 for excellence in Total Quality Management. In 2012, Tata Steel became the first integrated steel company in the world, outside Japan, to win the Deming Grand Prize 2012 instituted by the Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers.

Chief, Corporate Communications, India & SEA
Tata Steel