In 2006, the Tripura Bamboo Mission (TBM), an initiative of the Government of Tripura for integrated development of bamboo sector in the state, approached ICPL to set up a unit producer company in Baikura village (112Km from Agartala). ICPL took on the project and as a first move took up a space in a panchayat building to start the operations. With just 17 people as part of the first batch, ICPL trained these people of village in to make various different kinds of crafts. Today the company called Natural Weaves Kraft, is efficiently making bamboo fabrics, dyed fabrics, mats, boxes and several other products.
Before the intervention of ICPL, the villagers of Baikura were only making mats out of Sitalpati (one layer of the stem of a commonly grown plant in the area). The other layer of the stem called Bokapati was not being used and instead was being either burnt and sold to local shop owners to be used as thread. Once ICPL took on this unit and started the producer company in the village, the company was able to learn new mechanisms for production and minimize wastage of products (30% wastage to 0.2%) in two years.
ICPL helped identify people across different roles and provided them with 3 months training program for each of the specific roles comprising of cutting, assembling, tailoring, gumming, and finishing. IL&FS Cluster Development Initiative Limited acted as the implementing agency for the project, supporting Tripura Bamboo Mission in executing the production. TBM on the other hand, is connecting the company to the market and has helped procure government and private company orders as well. Initially ICPL also gave orders to the producer company, however now they are able to source these orders themselves, with an increased production base of over 1300 artisans across 2 producer companies.
Through the sustained interventions, IF was able to grow out a successful company in Tripura in just 2 years. From 2008 the hand holding process has stopped and the company has been working independently towards getting and completing their production orders.