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Sahyadri Science College becomes Jatropha Info centre for 
Labland Biotechs
     
July 10, 2005 - The New Sunday Express

Sahyadri Science College here, which already has many feath ers in its cap, has become Jatropha Information Dissemination Centre(JIDC) for Labland Biotech, a Mysore based well known biotech company having 11 year standing in the field.

"We could get instantaneous response from Sahyadri College when we proposed this idea," revealed Director for Biofuels in Labaland Dr. NG Karanth.

Moving a step forward, Principal of Sahyadri College Prof TS Hoovaiah Gowda has decided to plant Jatropha in two acre area on the college premises. Kuvempu University Vice-Chancellor Prof K Chidananda Gowda, who approved constituent college Sahyadri to become JIDC for Labland, has also announced that University would cultivate Jatropha in five acre land on University campus.

Jatropha is the plant of the day after the President A P J Abdul Kalam repeatedly insisted that the country should take up biodiesel production on top priority. Diesel consumption of India is 15 million litres per day and the bill goes to Rs 1,100 billion a year.

Following the President's directive, Union Government had already passed a resolution to blend diesel with 5 percent biofuel. This should go up to 20 percent by the year 2010. Then the daily requirement of bio-diesel goes to 30 million litres.

Jatropha, having an oil content of 35 to 45 percent is considered as the best resource for biodiesel.

D1 Oils, a UK based multinational company had come to an agreement with Union Government to produce biodiesel for India.

Labland Biotech has now come to an understanding with DI Oils through Union Government to assist the UK company to distribute plants, provide technical assistance to farmers and get seeds from the people in India.

"But, considering earlier experiences of farmers, we decided to have nodal agencies at district and taluk level to instill confidence among farmers and to achieve goal. So, we decided to establish JIDCs all over Karnataka. Sahyadri College is our first JIDC," said Dr NG Karanth.

Presently, Labland distributes saplings of Jatropha supplied by D1 Oils. "But, we want to identify local varieties too which have similar or better potential to produce biodiesel. So, these JIDCs will also act as feedback agencies for us to get information about local varieties of Jatropha," he said.

Labland has a target of setting up Jatropha plantations in totally 1,25,000 acres of land in Karnataka. Influenced by the methodology adopted by Labland, other state governments have also come forward to take-up Jatropha plantations in their areas.

"For our college, this new offer helps in many ways," claimed Prof Hooavaiah Gowda.

Basically, this established an institute-industry link which is vital for biotechnology.

Students may take up research in this field since Seed Technology is one of the subjects taught in this College.

Sahyadri College can also serve as a training centre to disseminate information about importance, methodology and benefits of cultivating Jatropha.

Moreover, University Grants Commission, which closely watches leading colleges 
of the country, surely appreciates such effort by Sahyadri College and may 
consider while assessing the performance.

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