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Need to rubberise roads stressednews
James Paul
07 January 2002

 A seminar on rubberisation of roads held here concluded that the use of natural rubber-modified bitumen (NRMB) will not only increase the longevity and strength of roads, but will also cut the costs of road-building.

This is particularly so in Kerala, where natural rubber is available in plenty and cheap. If the process becomes popular across the country, it will bring in great relief to Keralas rubber farmers, who are reeling under a heavy price-fall.

The seminar held ahead of next weeks Indian Roads Congress, to be held in Kochi, where a stream of experts will dwell on modern road-building techniques was organised by the Institution of Engineers India (IEI) and the Rubber Board.

The speakers pointed out that rubberisation will enhance the roads longevity at least by one-third. New methods have been developed to add strength to the roads that use NRMB as binders. However, in India, particularly Kerala, introduction of new technologies is painfully slow a reason why rubberisation is not catching up fast.

Rubber Board director K S Gopalakrishnan said rubberisation was first experimented in Kerala way back in 1974 when a 1-km stretch of the MC Road was paved with NRMB. Though the experiment was successful, there were not many takers for the process, mainly because of the shortage of quality NRMB.

"Now, most technical hurdles have been surpassed and the Indian roads can go in for a massive rubberisation," he said. "There should be an awareness-creation among engineers, rulers, contractors and the public about the benefits of rubberisation."

Rubber Board chairman S M Desalphine said rubberised roads are more reliable, less expensive to build and last longer. "Since Kerala has an abundant supply of rubber and Kochi Refineries has a capacity to produce a huge quantity of NRMB, this is the right time to launch the rubberisation movement."

Kochi mayor C M Dinesh Mani opened the seminar. IEI chairman (Kochi local centre) M P Sukumaran Nair and IEI former president P M Chacko, too, spoke on the occasion.

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Need to rubberise roads stressed