Chandigarh: To curb the tendency among farmers to burn paddy stubble, which is causing large-scale air pollution, the Punjab government on Wednesday said it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a Chennai-based company to set up 400 processing plants for converting paddy straw into bio-energy in the state.
“The plants will become operational before the next paddy season, thus preventing recurrence of the environmental hazard triggered by stubble burning in the current season,” a Punjab government spokesperson said.
The MoU was signed on behalf of the Punjab government by RK Verma, CEO, Punjab Bureau of Investment Promotion, and K Iyyapan, MD of NEWAYAEngineers MSW Private Ltd.
The project would involve a total investment of Rs 10,000 crore over the next 10 months, the spokesperson said.
The state government will facilitate and support the project to ensure its successful operation within the next 10 months. The project will also provide direct employment to about 30,000 youth in the unskilled and semi-skilled categories, the spokesperson added.
“The company will use its breakthrough and patented pollution-free Zero Residue technology to ensure that there is no residue left behind at the end of the process, thus preventing any land filling. The technology will provide sustainable solution to the environmental problems caused by burning of paddy residue in the state,” he added.
Under the agreement, the company will set up 400 cluster units for the 20 million tonnes of paddy straw expected to be generated in the state in a season. Each unit will have the capacity to process 50,000 tonne through the year, or 150-175 tonne per day per unit.
The Punjab government will allocate seven acres of land for each cluster point, of which 4-5 acres would be used for storing 50,000 tonnes of paddy straw through the year under the project, which will have a concession period of 33 years.
The state government will also provide to the company power at subsidised tariff rate, as well as other applicable incentives, as per the new industrial policy.
“The highly saleable carbon-rich fuel produced by the conversion of paddy straw will find application in diverse industries, including cement, iron, steel, sugarcane, paper, thermal power plants, methanol and ethanol production,” the spokesperson added.