By Team Mangalorean
Mangalore, June 5: It is not everyday that people like Lonappan Panthallookaran meet the ordinary mortals, he is busy in innovating. One product that he invented could go in the world as the most environment friendly product that even the Greenpeace would have liked to endorse.
The Kerala based Deepam Palm Dish company that has made the world sit up and look is now planning to base a production unit in Mangalore. If everything goes well, about 1.5 lakh persons will be employed in producing areca leaf plates in the district and can earn as much as 12,000 rupees per month per person in a unit of 5 persons each.
Mr. Lonappan Panthallookaran was confident when initially embarked as Rice Wholesaler at Rice Bazaar, Thrissur, Kerala, in India. In January 1967, he switched over to umbrella manufacturing and started supplying this Product all over India especially in South India, including Andaman Islands. In the year 2002, he started exports to Australia.
The export division had been expanded and the sizable portions of umbrellas manufactured by his units go to Canada and other countries. It was well received by the common people.
Later, he diversified to school bags, vanity bags and travel bags (in house manufacturing and out sourcing). For the past one decade various types of bags in different designs are being exported to Gulf countries. Areca nut leaf plates are ideally suited for serving food items and it has been certified by Central Food Technological Institute at Mysore, in India (A Govt of India concern.). It is a product with superior qualities like fiber strength, Bio-degradable, ideal for buffet lunch, non- toxic etc. over plastic/aluminum plates used for serving food.
Deepam Triple Advantage Project
After years of research Deepam palm Dish has developed a scheme titled Deepam triple advantage programme this project aims at generating 3 lakh fresh employment opportunities to unemployed rural women and youths in India by encouraging them to set up areca nut leaf plate making units in areas where areca nut is grown.
In India, areca nut grows in an area of 4.85 lakh hectares. Total number of standing areca nut tree in India is estimated as 660 million numbers. These trees shed 5320 million leaves every year of which 4250 million are available as raw material for plate making units. A plate making unit requires 70,000 leaves per year. In other words the annually available leaves would be sufficient to meet the entire raw material requirements of over 60,000 plate making units.
Each plate making unit would generate 5 fresh employment opportunities for 300 days in a year with each person earning Rs 120- 150 per day. Thus the 60,000 units that can be set up would generate over 3 lakh fresh employment opportunities and will create an "Employment Revolution in rural India" At present areca nut leaves are treated as agro waste by farmers in India. However, the effective use of these leaves for producing the value added dishes will naturally make this agro waste an important raw material for which the farmers will fetch a price. It will be an additional income to areca nut farmers.
With a view to ensuring smooth and profitable running of units established with 'DEEPAM' technology, Deepam Palm Dish has undertaken the responsibility of buying back and marketing of all the quality plates produced by these units. This arrangement relieves the units of the responsibility of marketing, for which they have no expertise or network.
An entrepreneur can be assured of 300 days of work in a year; he said and added that one could earn Rs. 150- to Rs. 175 per day with an initial investment of Rs. 1.25 lakh. Leading public sector banks including Canara Bank have come forward for financing these units.