Missions for Karnataka's Prosperity
address to the nation on the eve of the 59th Independence day
President's address at the first convocation of the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun 16-10-2005 : Dehradun, Uttaranchal
We have nearly 63 million hectares of wasteland available in the country, out of which 33 million hectares of wasteland have been allotted for tree plantation. Jatropha can grow well in this wasteland with very little input. Once grown the crop has a fifty years of life. Fruiting can take place in this plant in two years. It yields upto five tonnes per hectares oil seeds and produces two tones of bio-diesel. Presently, the cost of bio-diesel through the plant is approximately Rs. 17 to Rs. 19 per litre which can be substantially reduced through choice of right size of the plant and using high yield variety plantation which has already been established by the researchers. Bio-diesel plants grown in one million hectares of land can yield a revenue of approximately Rs. 2,000 crore a year and provide employment to over one million people both for plantation and running of the extraction plants. This is a sustainable development process leading to large scale employment of rural manpower. Also, it will reduce the foreign exchange outflow paid for importing crude oil. Use of Bio-diesel is carbon neutral. This oil can also be used for soap and candle industries. De-oiled cake is a raw material for composting and plantation is good for honey production. We should absorb best of the technologies available worldwide and start commercial operation soon, instead of staying at pilot plant levels. I am happy that some of the States have already taken initiatives in having Jatropha Plantations in waste lands. However, I also learnt that some farmers have problems in sale of their Jatropha produce. Immediate attention should be given by the respective State Governments to solve this problem so that those who grow Jatropha do not suffer.
There has been a successful experiment which has been carried out by Daimler - Benz in collaboration with CSIR laboratories of running a Benz car from Pune to Delhi using 10% blend of Bio-fuel, without any modification to the engine. Now is the time, for the state and central governments to come out with the policy which can provide answers to all the questions of the farmers, financial institutions, entrepreneurs who are keen to setup the fully integrated bio-diesel plant using Jatropha seeds from the plantation to production of bio-diesel, by-products and their marketing. It is said that a number of foreign consultants have shown interest in taking up Jatropha plantation and commissioning of plants in different areas of the country. I would recommend the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES) to take the lead and enable establishment of model bio-diesel plants with the inputs of Jatropha coming from different parts of the country. UPES can also undertake research in collaboration with Indian Institute of Petroleum and automobile industry for progressive increase of bio-fuel percentage in blending. Ultimate aim should be to find engines, which can run on bio-fuel alone. This will need research in automobile engines which can accept hundred percent bio-fuel for its operation. This will enable to work for a target of realizing at least 30 million tonnes of bio-fuels within the next decade. The second area where UPES can enter in a big way is harnessing of solar energy.