You must have seen jute rugs, jute dolls, even jute clothes. But, have you seen, or even heard of jute roads?

A research centre in Calcutta, the National Institute of Research on Jute and Allied Fibre Technology (NIRJAFT), is planning to make a road with jute. It will be 24 kilometres long.

Road of Jute
Road of Jute [Illustration by Nitin Vishwakarma]

The scientists at the centre say the road will be stronger than normal roads. They can talk with such confidence because they have tried it out earlier. And, the road they made was indeed stronger. It did not develop holes after the monsoons got over.

Most of the roads in the country need repairs after the rains. They actually look like they have broken bones after the beating they receive at the hands of the monsoons.

NIRJAFT made a road in a village called Guptipara, which is about 100 kilometres from Calcutta. When they were making the road, they used a thin layer of jute between the gravel, or small stones used in making roads, and the soil. This ensured that the rainwater, which collected by the roadside, was drained much faster than usual. As a result, the road lasted much longer.

The scientists say the thin layer of jute also helps keep the gravel in place. This was reported in the The Times of India recently.The report mentioned a scientist as saying that by using jute, a road’s life can be increased by three to four years.

The research centre is planning to make wide rolls of jute, which will be used to make these roads. And, eventually when it does degenerate, it will become a part of the soil. For jute is biodegradable.