IT Rajendran Pillai has been re elected as the Vice Chairman of the Rubber Board. The decision was taken in the 179th meeting of the Rubber Board held at Kottayam today. He was first elected as Vice Chairman in October 2018. Hailing from Chittethu Cheriyil Kunnathuvila family, Peruman, Kollam, T Rajendran Pillai has been serving as the State President of Kerala Pradesh Plantation Muzdoor Federation (B.M.S.) and National Committee member of Plantation Maha Sangh (BMS). He had served in Indian Air Force and Syndicate Bank. Tire industry bemoans the shortage of natural rubber But Board data show production is rising lFaced with a natural rubber crunch, the tire industry is in touch with the Rubber Board to increase domestic production and improve quality. Domestic produce usually arrives in the market at the onset of peak season mid-September. But this year, even in mid-November, supply has not increased. This is also indicative of the effect of climate change in the traditional growing areas, said Rajiv Budhraja, Director General, Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association (ATMA). The tire industry has always aspired to have a competitive domestic natural rubber sector. Almost the entire production is consumed domestically, especially by the industry, as there are hardly any natural exports from India. The domestic NR sector is a beneficiary of complete off-take by the consuming interests even though domestic prices have been ruling higher than international rates, he said. What is equally disturbing is that this year the demand for natural rubber is less in view of the ongoing slowdown, so imports have contracted due to the increased dependence on domestic rubber. Imports in September contracted by 40%,” he said. “Had it been a year of normal tire production, the impact of late and limited arrivals and overall tightness in availability would have been even more severe,” Budharja added. Rubber Board data However, production figures available from the Rubber Board contradicts the industry claim. According to the statistics, natural rubber production during April-September 2019 was 3, 08,000 tonnes, compared with 2,77,000 tonnes in the corresponding period last year.