DW BUREAU / Chandigarh
To curb the menace of crop residue burning and create a positive atmosphere for industrialization, the Punjab government on Monday took a decision to set up a bio-ethanol project and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed between the state government and M/s SAB Industries Ltd with proposed investment of Rs 719 crore.
Giving details about this project, Industry and Commerce Minister Sundar Shyam Arora said the project will produce 25000 TPA 2G bio-ethanol from paddy straw in Punjab which will not only generate investment and employment but will also help in reducing crop residue burning.
He said few studies undertaken in India have indicated surplus biomass availability to the tune of 120-160 MMT annually which, if converted, has the potential to yield 3000 crore litres of ethanol annually. Surplus biomass/agricultural waste can be converted to ethanol using second generation (2G) technologies which has cellulosic and lignocellulosic content.
Arora said Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas notified National Policy on Biofuels-2018 to promote bio-fuels in the country. This policy aims to increase usage of bio-fuels in the energy and transportation sectors of the country during the coming decade. Bio-fuels in India are of strategic importance as it augers well with the ongoing initiatives of the government such as Make in India, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Skill Development and offers great opportunity to integrate with the ambitious targets of doubling of farmers Income, Import Reduction, Employment Generation, Waste to Wealth Creation.
Every harvesting season biomass is presently being exhumed by farmers in their fields causing huge pollution issue and is resulting into serious health hazards. Scientific disposal of biomass is must to take care of this menace. Government of Punjab is keen to encourage industrial projects for large scale utilisation of paddy straw for producing bio-ethanol and biogas in line with the policy of bio-fuels approved by the central government.