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Chandigarh, (Gurpreet): The Punjab Cabinet led by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday gave in-principle approval for setting up of a Compressed Bio Gas (CBG) Plant by Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL) at the now closed Cooperative Sugar Mills at Rakhra in Patiala.

The plant, to be developed in collaboration with Sugarfed, will help reduce stubble burning through use of paddy straw for bio gas generation, and will also nurture soil fertility through organic manure production.

The Cabinet also authorized the Cooperation Minister 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 CBG Plant. The Minister has been authorized to decide on the lease terms and conditions with the approval of the Chief Minister.

According to a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office, the upcoming CBG plant, which will create direct and indirect employment opportunities, will have capacity of 30 Ton CBG (Compressed Bio Gas) production, with daily feedstock capacity of approximately 300 tons of paddy straw, per day. It would also generate organic manure to the tune of approx. 75,000 tons per annum.

Moreover, CBG being an environment-friendly fuel with the potential to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 98%, the plant would help in minimising dependency on fossil fuels, and thus become a major contributor to promoting circular economy.

The CBG Plant would also be instrumental in reducing stubble burning in fields, thereby containing air pollution in Punjab, besides considerably help in improving the general living conditions. It will also thus help in augmenting the savings of farmers, as well as in restoring soil fertility and carbon content.

Apart from these, it would also provide additional income or revenue to State Government through GST on sale of CBG produced from the proposed plant.

At the Cabinet Sub-committee meeting, headed by Cooperation Minister, IOCL had informed the state that the project would involve production of Bio Gas from rice straw and other biomass at an estimated cost of Rs. 180 Crores in the first instance. IOCL would procure rice straw (Parali) from farmers through Cooperative Societies. The rates for purchase/supply of rice straw would be settled after mutual negotiations.

As the Cabinet Sub Committee had already recommended the setting up of new projects in PPP Mode on BOT basis for conversion of wheat/paddy straw to renewable energy or any other project at the closed cooperative sugar mills in the interest of the State, Sugarfed was asked to go ahead with the setting up of a Bio Gas project at Patiala in collaboration with IOCL.

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