Curbing stubble burning menace: Punjab gives nod to IOCL biogas plant; how it will benefit in checking pollution

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December 18, 2020 5:35 PM

The Punjab Cabinet gave in-principle approval to Indian Oil Corporation Limited for setting up a compressed biogas (CBG) plant at Rakhra in Patiala, at the site of closed cooperative sugar mills.

Punjab, CBG plantThe CBG plant, through organic manure production, will nurture soil fertility.

In a bid to help manage paddy stubble, the Cabinet of Punjab gave in-principle approval to Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) on Thursday for setting up a compressed biogas (CBG) plant at Rakhra in Patiala, at the site of closed cooperative sugar mills. The CBG plant will be developed in collaboration with Sugarfed. According to an IE report, paddy straw will be used by the plant to produce biogas thereby checking the menace of the burning of paddy stubble. Also, the CBG plant, through organic manure production, will nurture soil fertility. The decision for the setting up of the CBG plant was taken at a virtual Cabinet meeting, which was chaired by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

In order to settle all terms and conditions, including the Land Lease Agreement in respect of the land of 25 acres or more area of the sugar mill that is closed, to be provided for setting up the CBG plant to Indian Oil Corporation Limited, the Punjab Cabinet authorized Cooperation Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa. The plant is expected to generate both direct and indirect employment opportunities. It will have a production capacity of 30 tonnes CBG, with a capacity of daily feedstock of paddy straw of about 300 tonnes per day. Besides, the plant will also generate organic manure to the tune of about 75,000 tonnes per year.

CBG being an eco-friendly fuel, the upcoming CBG plant would help in minimizing dependency on fossil fuels, and thus become an important contributor to promoting the circular economy, according to the report. The CBG plant will also be reducing stubble burning in fields, thereby containing air pollution in the state of Punjab. Besides, it will help in augmenting farmers’ savings, as well as in restoring the fertility of soil and carbon content.

At a meeting of the cabinet sub-committee, which was headed by Randhawa, the Indian Oil Corporation Limited had informed that the project would involve biogas production from rice straw as well as other biomass at a cost of around Rs 180 crore. The report said straw from farmers would be procured by the corporation through cooperative societies. After mutual negotiations, the rates for purchase or supply of rice straw would be settled, it added.

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