Case Study: ARINDAM DASGUPTA

Arindam Dasgupta, a graduate from the Institute of Rural Management (Anand) Gujarat, was working as an ocer with Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII) in Guwahati back in 2005, where he decided to venture into the manufacturing of environment- friendly disposable dinnerware. He always had the dream of beginning a community- based startup for rural India and so he quit his job in EDII and joined a non-governmental organization called ‘Dhriti’, to promote areca nut sheaths and to work on the lines of community welfare. During the same time, he also begun touring South India and visited around 40 areca nut plate production units.

Thereafter in the year 2009, Arindam established Tambul Plates Marketing Private Limited (TPMPL), which aimed at manufacture and marketing of areca nut plates in North-eastIndia - Guwahati, Shillong and Dimapur, and other major cities including Delhi, Patiala, Patna, Mumbai and Kolkata. The main objective of TPMPL is to support producers of areca nut plates to market their products so that they need not worry about selling them. Due to TPMPL, the marketing reach of areca nut plates has extended to Europe, USA, South-east Asia and the Middle East.

Social Impact:

TPMPL has helped in the training of more than 1000 individuals (out of which 400+ are women) in manufacturing areca nut plates. The organization has also helped local community members with high unemployment rates to get jobs. TPMPL has also provides additional income to sheath collectors, out of which majority are women. (Sources: Seed Case Studies: Insights into Entrepreneurial Solutions for Sustainable Development). TPMPL has assisted in networking of areca nut producers with State Governments, NGOs, Institutions and Banks which has helped the local community in availing schemes/services, increasing outreach, improving technology and facilitating nance respectively for areca nut plate production projects. TPMPL is also involved in introducing solar lighting to the areca nut plate production units to address the problem of electricity shortage in villages

Economic Impact:

TPMPL helped increase sales and selling prices of areca nut sheaths for collectors by more than 30%. They are also working with the Assam Government to set up women-run household production units across 20+ districts of Assam. The company also created community production units for plates, which were owned and run by young men. Through an economic point-of-view, the state of Assam contributes to 23%of the total plantation area of India to areca nut plantations alone. This makes enterprises like TPMPL very essential in Assam, so that areca nut sheaths are monetized, which otherwise would be simply discarded as garbage. TPMPL also developed a low cost, biomass-based, non-electried dryer that can churn out 500 areca nut sheaths in 4-5 hours. They also designed a simple low cost stock room that enables storage of raw materials for +1 years. This has inadvertently helped in the increase of raw materials for areca nut producers. TPMPL is also involved in marketing of handloom and handicraft products and in the promotion of black pepper cultivation in areca nut plantations

Ecological Impact:

Base material of Tambul Plates is made out of biodegradable arecanut extracts and it discourages the use of plastic and styrofoam dinnerware. At an average, the amount of CO emissions are reduced by over 500 tonnes in the atmosphere. And use of arecanut-based plates help reduce plastic waste by atleast10 tonnes per year. (Sources: Seed Case Studies: Insights into Entrepreneurial Solutions for Sustainable Development). Use of areca nut sheaths also helps reduce deforestation in surrounding areas.

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