Vijay C Roy
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, July 25
Farmers of Punjab will soon have an option to buy lightweight, fuel-efficient, sleek aluminum-bodied diesel engines for irrigation and other agricultural purposes as the government plans to set up a Rs 15-crore Common Facility Centre (CFC) for product development at Phagwara.
The Centre will cater to about 100 diesel engine manufacturing units who can sell the newly designed machine at 23% below the cost of traditional iron-cast bulky engine. “This will reduce farmer input cost to the extent of Rs 5,000-Rs 6,000 per acre as the aluminum-based engine will consume 50% less diesel. Besides, it will be half in size and weight of the traditional models, therefore, potable and farmer-friendly,” said DPS Kharbanda, Director, Industries and Commerce, Punjab.
“This aluminum-based engine can compete with imported engines from China and Japan,” he said. Farmers use diesel engines for pumping water, chopping fodder and threshing. The project has received an in-principle approval by the Centre,” he said.
The industry has formulated a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), ‘Foundry and General Engineering Cluster Phagwara’ for the implementation of the CFC for 96 members. The CFC will produce aluminum die-casting for the members and also take job work of others. The CFC will be equipped with modern machinery, testing lab, R&D centre and requisite infrastructure as per the requirement of industries.
Currently, the Phagwara-based diesel engine cluster has an annual turnover of Rs 190 crore. Introduction of latest technology will double its sales in a couple of years, said Mukhinder Singh, secretary of the SPV.
“Farmers will not only be able to save on diesel but also on the acquisition cost as the product will be at least 20% cheaper than the conventional engine,” he said. A cast-iron diesel pump set of 5 HP costs Rs 13,000. The aluminum engine of the same power will cost around Rs 10,000, he said.
Out of the total project cost, the Centre will fund 90% of the cost while the rest will be contributed by the Punjab government. The working capital and other incurring expenses will be borne by the SPV that will include all cluster members, officials said.
The Department of Industries and Commerce has proposed 24 industrial clusters under the CFC scheme in the past one year. Out of the two dozen proposals, this case was taken up in the National Project Clearing Committee meeting on Wednesday along with another project pertaining to setting up of an oil expeller cluster in Ludhiana.
The oil expellers and manufacturing cluster of Ludhiana will benefit 179 units engaged in the production of oil expeller machines. The industry cluster has an annual turnover of Rs 250 crore. The oil expeller and parts manufacturing industry in Ludhiana contributes 83% of the total oil expeller machinery production in the country.
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