Nine states identified for bio-diesel production

New Delhi, April 28 | Updated: Apr 29 2006, 05:30am hrs
Under the Rs 1,286 crore demonstration project for cultivation of non-edible oil-bearing plants and tree for production of bio-diesel, the rural development ministry has released an amount of Rs 4,900 crore to the nine states identified under the project. These states are Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tripura and Assam.

This is a demonstration project involving nine identified states, said rural development minister Dr Raghuvansh Prasad Singh.

He said, This allocation is for plantation of Jatropha curcas in 200,000 hectare forest land and 200,000 hectare non-forest wasteland over a period of five years. The allocation is also meant for technology development, technical support to growers through training, capacity building and other facilitating arrangements.

The minister said assistance also included development of 80,000 hectare Jatropha nurseries for providing quality seedlings in 2006-07. Singh said that production of bio-diesel has gained momentum in nine identified states. In tribal belts of Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, Jatropha oil is used for lighting, heating and other conventional energy use.

The rural development ministry is the nodal agency for operationalisation of the National Mission on Bio-diesel and is directly responsible for encouraging plantation of non-edible oil-bearing plants and trees.

As regards extraction of oil trans-esterification, its role is that of coordination. Petroleum companies under the instructions from the Union ministry of petroleum and natural gas have decided to purchase Jatropha oil at Rs 25 per litre, which translates to seed price of Rs 5 per kg on certain assumptions of yield realization from by-products.

There are about 552,692.26 sq km of wastelands in the country, out of which 62.87% amounting to 347,490.15 sq km are suitable for cultivation of Jatropha.

Though there are non-edible oil-bearing trees, the National Mission on Bio-diesel has suggested special focus on cultivation of Jatropha curcas on wastelands.

In Europe, the US, Brazil and in Asian countries like Malaysia use of bio-diesel is in vogue. The sources for bio-diesel are rapeseeds and mustard in Europe, soyabeans in the US and oil palm in Malaysia.