The Malwa region has emerged as the solar hub of South East Asia with Punjab’s largest commissioned solar power project being inaugurated here today by Union Food Processing Minister Mrs Harsimrat Kaur Badal .Mrs Badal,while inaugurating the 32 mw plant set up by Welspun Solar Punjab Pvt Ltd in the presence of New and Renewable Energy minister Mr Bikram Singh Majithia, said Punjab was the first state in the country to work out a diversification scheme for farmers to adopt green energy ventures and develop them into green energy entrepreneurs. She said Punjab would target development at least 15 green energy entrepreneurs per block within the next five years ensuring 10 percent of the State’s energy requirement is fulfilled through green energy.
The Union minister also talked about the plight of the farmers of the Malwa region and said she would take up their issues, including those of msp, with the Prime Minister. While interacting with the media, Mrs Badal said Mr Parkash Singh Badal was the first Chief Minister of the country to announce such a huge compensation package (Rs 643 crore) for farmers whose cotton crop had been damaged due to whitefly attack. She said though the extent of loss in Punjab was less as compared to Haryana and Rajasthan, but Punjab had paid maximum compensation to its farmers," She said Punjab had also increased the per acre compensation from Rs 3,000 to Rs 8,000. She further said that a high level team headed by ADGP level officer was investigating the issue of sale of spurious pesticides and that any person found guilty would not be spared.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Bikram Singh Majithia said the Punjab government was coming up with a new scheme under which farmers could themselves set up solar power projects on their own land in collaboration with corporates. He said that under this scheme a MoU would be signed for a period of 25 years and the farmers and corporates would have a 50:50 partnership. He said to boost this scheme, the Punjab government would even give subsidy and around 500MW capacity projects would be allocated to farmers.Mr Majithia further said the Punjab government would ask companies setting up solar power plants to adopt villages where these plants are set up for the installation of streetlights. He said that soon, all villages of the state would be covered by installing solar power streetlights. He said even Welspun, which had set up its project in land belonging to this village as well as Teona Pujarian, would also adopt both villages for installation of solar powered street lights.
Disclosing the benefits accruing to farmers from establishment of solar projects in their fields, the minister said the farmers were getting more lease value for their land as compared to market rates. He said besides this there were built in clauses in the contracts which allowed for the increase of lease money over a period of 25 years for which the land was taken for setting up of the solar plant.The New and Renewable Energy minister said Punjab would increase the percentage of renewable energy in the total energy generated in the State to 15 per cent. “We have set a target to develop 5400 mw total non-conventional power capacity by the year 2022 with the generation of 300 mw from biomass, 680 mw from co-generation power, 4200 mw from solar, 200 mw from hydel and 20 mw by converting waste to energy”. Mr Majithia also recounted that the solar initiatives of the Punjab government had received national accolades with the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy rating it as of the best States in the country as far as capacity addition was concerned. He said the Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) had also been declared one of the best performing State nodal agencies under the energy conservation programme during 2012 and 2013 by the Union Ministry of Power. Prominent among those present on the occasion included Mr TR Kishore Nair, President, Welspun Renewables, Mr. Vineet Mittal, Vice Chairman Welspun Renewables, MLA Mr Jeet Mahinder Singh Sidhu, ex MLA Mr Jagdeep Singh Nakai, Director PEDA Mr Balour Singh, Mr Harjinder Singh Sidhu, Assistant Media Advisor to Deputy CM, besides several others.