To help manage paddy stubble, the Punjab Cabinet Thursday gave in-principle approval to Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) for setting up a compressed biogas (CBG) plant at the site of closed cooperative sugar mills at Rakhra in Patiala.
The plant, to be developed in collaboration with Sugarfed, will use paddy straw to produce biogas thereby checking the menace of paddy stubble burning. It will also nurture soil fertility through organic manure production.
The decision was taken at a virtual Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.
The Cabinet authorized Cooperation Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa to settle all terms & conditions, including that of Land Lease Agreement in respect of 25 acres or more area of the closed sugar mill, to be provided to IOCL for setting up the Plant.
The plant, which will create both direct and indirect employment opportunities, will have capacity of 30 tonnes CBG production, with daily feedstock capacity of approximately 300 tonnes of paddy straw per day. It would also generate organic manure to the tune of about 75,000 tonnes per annum.
Moreover, CBG being an environment-friendly fuel with the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 98 per cent, the plant would help in minimising dependency on fossil fuels, and thus become a major contributor to promoting circular economy. The plant would also be instrumental in reducing stubble burning in fields, thereby containing air pollution in Punjab. It will also thus help in augmenting the savings of farmers, as well as in restoring soil fertility and carbon content.
At a cabinet sub-committee meeting, headed by Randhawa, IOCL had informed that the project would involve production of biogas from rice straw and other biomass at an estimated cost of Rs 180 crore. IOCL would procure straw from farmers through cooperative societies. The rates for purchase/supply of rice straw would be settled after mutual negotiations.
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