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‘Green State’ naps over green fuel policy
Union Surface Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari may have scratched the hope to generate great amount of bio-fuel—ethanol, methanol—in Jharkhand, however, there is no great churn at policy making level with the Government.
Nodal agency to look at alternate sources of energy and fuels, JREDA, is still in the want of a decent policy in this regard, despite having made few interventions about a decade ago.
Way back in 2006, JREDA had started a pilot demonstration project at Nawadih of Bokaro and managed in electrifying 100-odd households by using non-edible oils such as karanj, sal seed, mahua, kusum and jatropha.
“At present there is no such plan with us. We can look into it if MNRE (Ministry of New and Renewable Energy) send any to us,” said JREDA Director Niranjan Kumar when enquired about any step having taken to realise the potential green energy sources available in the State.
Studies have shown that Karanj, the locally grown wild tree, is in abundance in several forested areas in Jharkhand. “Karanj and many forest produces are easily available in the State but have not been tapped to its full potential. It is because of missing policy and mindset at the bureaucratic level. The vision is missing which can lead to bringing in potential investors and private players of this field to Jharkhand. Now even technology has grown to such an extent that smaller plants with lesser investments can be set up in villages which can besides, generating bio-fuel provide good income to the locals,” said noted environmentalist Nitish Priyadarshi.
JREDA after taking up the pilot project to study the feasibility of producing electricity from jatropha and other non-edible oils is said to be focusing more on solar energy.
“There is potential in the State in terms of bio fuel. We had done some data collection exercise previously but it could not go much beyond that after solar came in a big way on our agenda. Also, the area could not be explored further because assured supply of raw material was missing somewhere. Production of karanj etc is scattered while to sustain the industry needs assured supply,” said Project Director with JREDA Arvind Kumar adding that the agency had financed some ethanol projects in the past.
Moreover, at the Department level there is a sense of alertness since the Centre very recently announced to go for a new bio-fuel policy to incentivise the production of clean alternative fuels in the country to ensure return on investment.
“The Centre has placed Jharkhand, including other arid regions like Vidarbha, Bundelkhand, Bihar and Odisha for promoting bio fuels. We may draft a policy to attract private investment to set up ethanol and methanol plants in the State in future. It is indeed in our plan,” said a senior official of Energy Department.
He also quipped at the same that Jharkhand due to its limited production area cannot go much ahead with farm based bio fuels and instead would look more to bio diesel generated out of non-edible oils and animal fats.
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