World Bamboo Organization honors the following Bamboo Pioneers from India for their contribution to the bamboo sector development in India on this 18th day of September, 2010 at Kisama Heritage Village, Kohima, Nagaland, India.
Cherla Sastry was born in Andhra Pradesh, India and came to Canada, as a graduate student, in the early sixties. He studied biology, forestry and forest products at Andhra University, India and University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada respectively. Dr Sastry’s experience includes professional positions with the University of Toronto, Canada, the University of British Columbia, the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, Canada, Forintek Canada Corporation, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Agriculture University, Malaysia, theWestern Forest Products Laboratory (Environment Canada), Vancouver, the Ministry of Defense, GOI and Andhra University in India. Dr Sastry joined the International Development Research Centre of Canada in 1983 to conceive, develop and administer the IDRC’s Forestry, Environment and Natural Resources programs in Asia and South Pacific. In this capacity, he was instrumental in developing a number of successful multi-disciplinary projects and networks [such as Bamboo and Rattan, the Medicinal Plants] in the region, some of which became global activities with multi-donor support. In 1993, Sastry developed the Bamboo and Rattan Network into a formal operation linking governments NGOs, and research institutions throughout the region, based in New Delhi. He raised millions of dollars for its operations and created the organization as an IDRC Special program in 1994. In November 1997 he was appointed Founding Director General of the newly created International Network for Bamboo and Rattan [INBAR], as an independent international organization established through treaty, with head quarters in Beijing, PR China. He was lovingly known as the father of INBAR. He retired from service at the end of 1999 after two decades of distinguished service with these Organizations. In September 2000, he was appointed as an Adjunct Professor of Forestry and an Associate of the Institute for Environmental Studies, at the University of Toronto Dr. Sastry also is active as a consultant to FAO, UNIDO CIDA, the Government of India, Cuba and others since retirement. Dr. Sastry has been a member of several international forestry and forest products research and technical associations. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the University Pertanian Malaysia, the Forest Products Research and Development Institute [1989 and1999] of the Philippines as well as the Kasetsart University and the Royal Forest Department Thailand. In 1990, the Chinese Academy of Forestry awarded him the title of “Honorary Research Professor” for his outstanding contributions to the development of forestry research in China. He was appointed UNESCO chair in China in 1996. The Society of Indian Foresters has honored him in 1994, with a plaque and a shawl for his lifetime contribution to the cause of forestry research and international cooperation. The Chairman and the Board of Directors of INBAR, in January 2000, have conferred on Sastry the honorary title “Distinguished Fellow of INBAR for life” in recognition of his outstanding service and contribution to the organization and its aim.He was recently a chief guest at a held in Beijing by the Govt. of people republic of China and 32 member countries of INBAR at its 10th Anniversary held in Novemeber 2007 at the guest wall of people. Dr. Sastry has author or co-authored over 50 scientific and technical publication and books in forestry, forest product and agro-forestry and lectured at several national and international workshops and conventions. Dr. Sastry holds a MS in Forestry and Ph d in Forest products from the University of British Columbia and an MSc and a BSc (Honors) in Botany and BSc (Biology) from Andhra University in India.
Some select Lifetime achievement awards/recognitions Sastry received:
Zayed International Prize for the Environment, Dubai- UAE
Awarded to the Authors of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
Distinguished Fellow of INBAR for Life- for outstanding contributions and Service for the Development of the Sector- Board of Directors INBAR, Govt. of PR China and 31 other Countries of the Council of INBAR.
Recognition of Outstanding Service -IDRC-Canada Honorary Research Professor- Chinese Academy of Forestry; PR China
Honorary Member-The Chinese Society of Forestry-for outstanding contribution to Forestry
Plaque of Appreciation, Gov. of Thailand—Active Contribution, support, esteemed Advice on Forestry and Friendship
Outstanding Service Award- Univ. Pertananian Malaysia/Gov Malaysia–CIDA Visiting Professor and Advisor of Forestry.
Plaque of Appreciation- Republic of Philippines-for Invaluable contribution to Forest Products R&D in Asia and the Pacific.
Certificate of Appreciation–Govt of Indonesia–Contributions to Forestry Devt. Award-Society of Indian Foresters–a Plaque and a Shawl-for a lifetime of dedicated service to the cause of Forestry.
Bamboo Idealist Vinoo Kaley was born in Wardha on 30th June 1946.After his graduation from JJ College of Architecture in 1968, and a great many wanderings in as a Bhikshu of vernacular building wisdom, he started work at Wardha once again as architect, activist, manufacturer of lime, builder in mud and maverick lobbyist for cause of the Gandhian mode of building. The three decades since seventies that Vinoo worked with Wardha as his spiritual centre of architectural activism saw him move to Bombay briefl y and raise a family of three children at Nagpur. He soon grew into an incessant communicator of Gandhian ideologies addressing students, scientists, fellow professionals, the bureaucrats of Delhi or anyone on the road who was willing to listen. A diehard optimist, fighting the brutalist industrial apparatus with Bamboo as his weapon, Vinoo was a pragmatist. He is quoted “There is no ideal, only factors of real that we don’t understand”. In the last decade of his life, Vinoo’s singular passion was Bamboo – he designed, and built with it, wrote about it, fought for its reinstatement as building material, and experimented successfully with it as structural columns, large span trusses and in foundations. He designed and built entirely in bamboo 40 houses in Maharashtra. The Crafts bazaar in Bamboo that he put up at Hyderabad was nominated for the Aga Khan award in Architecture. Venu Bharati; an illustrated volume on Bamboo was Vinoo’s final gift to the lovers of bamboo the world over. Vinoo Kaley died suddenly on 11th June 1998. Those who knew him and even those whose lives he touched briefl y would agree that the striking aspect of Vinoo’s personality was his total and intense commitment to the service of others. He believed that it was through strengthening the professional aspects of their work that artisan communities would attain the level of self confi dence which would allow them to take their rightful place in our society. Vinoo was convinced that the artisan’s way of thinking and solving problems had immense relevance in terms of providing creative solutions particularly suited to the Indian context. Very few people do put into these beliefs the energy and tireless efforts that Vinoo did. He drove himself, his family and his associates to transcend their limitations. As a true community worker, he felt and clearly demonstrated that there could be a way of life in which there was no division between the personal and societal, that they were part of totality.Our society has produced and continues to produce great individuals and exceptionally creative ideas. What is needed is willingness and ability and drive to channelize the creative energy of individuals into the community.Vinoo believed passionately that this was necessary and possible. He continually chiseled within himself the qualities that are needed in the endeavour. He showed that vision has to be allied to the discipline, that openness is what compensates for individual weakness and above all that a sense of community overrides ideological bias.
Sampuran Singh, Managing Director Timpack Pvt. Ltd.
Sampuran Singh, along with his son Inderpal Singh Bhusri, started the company named Timpack Pvt. Ltd. on 14th June 1976 and carried on the business manufacturing, trading of timber and its timber products such as packing cases, tea chest etc. in 1979, the company set up a saw mill in Byrnihat, Meghalaya and continued its business till 1998, with their saw mill license still valid today. Thereafter, the Ministry of Environment & Forests and Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, Government of India approached Timpack to setup a bamboo based industry at Byrnihat. With 67% of the country’s bamboo are available in the North East, the unit was the first of its kind in India. In the year 2001, Sampuran Singh setup the New Bamboo Based Industry in India at Byrnihat, Meghalaya, with technology transfer from Indian Plywood Industries Research & Training Institute (IPIRTI), Ministry of Environment & Forests, Bangalore & Buildings Material Technology & Promotion Council (BMTPC), Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, New Delhi and with support from Cane and Bamboo Technology Centre (CBTC), Meghalaya Government, Planning Commission of India and various other departments. In this connection, Meghalaya Government, for the 1st time in the state, allowed Timpack to purchase 4.5 acres of land where their existing timber factory was situated to setup this new bamboo based industry. The Meghalaya Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) invested Rs. 100.00 Lacs preference shares in the company as the State Government and Central Government are keen to promote and encourage this new bamboo based industry which in turn will result in generating huge employment and providing economic upliftment to the rural people. However, numerous problems were faced in the formative years due to teething problems, initial production & raw materials constraints and product acceptability issues. Any new innovative product particularly, an eco–friendly product, takes it own time to gain acceptability and in particular with government departments it is a time consuming process. But Sampuran Singh and his team never gave up and continued their sincere hard work and struggle to make this new bamboo based industry a success. Today, the formative phase and its associated struggles are over and the company has passed all the tests conducted by various government departments. Their eco-friendly bamboo based products have generated a good demand after the struggles in marketing and product acceptability. The products are being used by various government departments and organizations like Indian Railways, CPWD and PWD as well as by various other private sector units. Today, at the age of 92 years, Sampuran Singh stands proud as one of the pioneers of bamboo in the country. He is still motivated and in turn motivates his team us to continue their work and dedication in order to make this region and the new bamboo based industry to be recognized on the bamboo map of the world.
A bamboo entrepreneur right from his childhood, Rajib Goswami wanted to do something of his own. With this vision, after completing his Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce, he started going into opportunistic businesses on a case to case basis until he had the opportunity to set up a retail fuel station under Indian Oil Corporation in 1986 – the Ambika Service Station. But, still his quest for doing something of his own remained, his mind constantly on the lookout and exploring possibilities. In the year 2001, on a personal trip to Australia, he happened to come across bamboo floorings and other bamboo products which were manufactured in China and, suddenly the idea clicked that he could do something on bamboo in his own state Assam, which being a part of India’s North East had an abundance of bamboo. In fact, the region is home to 67% of the country’s total growing stock.On his return, he explored every possibility of setting up a bamboo based unit and happened to come in contact with Guwahati based Cane and Bamboo echnology Centre (CBTC). Subsequently, he was selected as a part of the delegation to China as an exposure cum study tour of bamboo based units organized by CBTC-UNIDO in 2003. He returned, fully convinced that a Bamboo Window Blind / Placemats / Floor Mats manufacturing unit would be the one he was looking for. Immediately, he was on the job, prepared the TEFR and submitted to a national level bamboo based agency funds units on 0% interest. But, his proposal was rejected on various grounds. However, he was determined and convinced that by starting such a unit, he could become a change agent, and if successful, could be a model unit to be replicated elsewhere. Subsequently, he approached State Bank of India, who sanctioned the project and funds were released. From then, Rajib Goswami never looked back. In 2005-06, he started with 3 looms and, within a year, increased the installed capacity by 600% i.e. to 18 looms. Also, lots of improvements have been made on quality of his product and prices were structured better, becoming globally competitive as he was competing with Chinese manufacturers with a better product quality. His unit has become the only of its kind in the entire country and buyers who were earlier importing from China in bulk are buying his products and many more now exploring to purchase. The products – Bamboo Blinds, Placemats and Floor Mats – are manufactured with full mechanization and quality control. In order to be a leader in the market, the product demands innovation both in terms of design and quality. Today, Rajib Goswami’s unit – Rhino Bamboo Industry – has many innovative designs along with 150 standardized designs. The unit stands as a testimony to show that with proper channelized effort bamboo can turn out to be a very profitable and socially enhancing sector.