The Punjab cabinet on Thursday gave in-principle approval to Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) for setting up a compressed biogas (CBG) plant at the site of 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 biogas generation, and will also nurture soil fertility through organic manure production, according to a government statement here.
The decision was taken at a virtual meeting of the cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh here.
The upcoming CBG plant, which will create direct and indirect employment opportunities, will have capacity of 30 tonnes CBG (compressed bio gas) production, with daily feedstock capacity of approximately 300 tonnes of paddy straw per day.
It would also generate organic manure to the tune of about 75,000 tonnes per annum.
Moreover, CBG being an environment-friendly fuel with the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 98 per cent, 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.
It will also thus help in augmenting the savings of farmers, as well as in restoring soil fertility and carbon content, the statement said.
Apart from these, it would also provide additional income or revenue to the state government through tax on sale of CBG produced from the proposed plant.
At a cabinet sub-committee meeting, headed by Cooperation Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, IOCL had informed that the project would involve production of biogas from rice straw and other biomass at an estimated cost of Rs 180 crore.
IOCL would procure straw from farmers through cooperative societies. The rates for purchase/supply of rice straw would be settled after mutual negotiations.