Plants planned in Punjab to produce ethanol from crop stubble

Jalandhar, Nov 11 (IANS) The central and Punjab governments will sign an MoU on projects to be started in the state to produce ethanol fuel from crop stubble, Union Minister for Petroleum Dharmendra Pradhan said here on Friday.

The projects would be set up to eradicate burning of crop stubble, left behind after harvesting, by farmers. The practice is blamed for smog in much of northern India and the national capital Delhi.

The first such project would come up at Bathinda at a cost of Rs 500 crore and its foundation stone is to be laid after two weeks.

After launching the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana here on Friday, Pradhan said the ethanol units would also reduce the dependence for fuel requirement.

According to estimates, Punjab produces more than 50 lakh tonnes of crop stubble in a season, which would be used as a raw material for the fuel units.

The union minister announced that in the first phase, 10 ethanol units would be set up in various districts in Punjab which would play an important role to redress the issue of air pollution and smog.

Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who was present here, told reporters the ethanol fuel projects would be a big push for the state economy as the farmers would get an additional annual income of Rs 4,000 crore from the crop stubble.

He said in the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, LPG connections and steel ‘chullas’ or stoves would be provided to all seven lakh BPL households who have no domestic gas connections in the state.

Official records say out of the 65 lakh households in the state, seven lakh are using kerosene and other traditional methods for cooking in Punjab.