18 months on, work on ethanol plant yet to start

BATHINDA: It has been almost one and a half years since the then Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal laid the foundation stone of Rs 600-crore bio-ethanol plant in the district, but there hasn’t been much progress on the setting up of the project.

editorial@tribune.com

Perneet Singh

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 24

It has been almost one and a half years since the then Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal laid the foundation stone of Rs 600-crore bio-ethanol plant in the district, but there hasn’t been much progress on the setting up of the project.

Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) had roped in Engineers India Limited (EIL), Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) for establishing the plant, whose capacity will be 100 kilolitres of ethanol per day. The plant may use sugarcane, biomass and other agricultural residues like paddy straw, wheat stubble and maize residue for the production of ethanol. It will also help in reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the paddy straw, which is currently burnt after harvesting. In December 2016, the district administration had identified 40 acres of land at Nasibpura village where HPCL was to set up the plant. The representatives of HPCL had also visited the site and approved it. The site was identified and selected as it was in close proximity to paddy-producing areas. According to sources, the project initially got delayed as more land was required for establishing it. Subsequently, the district administration received a request to arrange another 11 to 12 acres of land adjacent to the existing site of the plant.

With the setting up of the plant, the farmers will not have to burn paddy stubble, which is a major source of pollution. Moreover, their income will be supplemented, as they will be paid for the farm refuse. This environment-friendly plant would go a long way in ensuring that the farm waste finds proper utilisation and the same does not create pollution. As per an estimate, the plant will consume a minimum of 400 tonnes of paddy straw daily for producing 100 kilolitres of ethanol. It will be enough to meet at least 26 per cent of the total ethanol requirement of the state. The project will also generate job avenues for local residents.

Process underway: DC  

Bathinda Deputy Commissioner Diprava Lakra says the process is on and the public hearing for environmental clearance of the project has been conducted. He expresses hope that the work on setting up the plant will be initiated soon

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