Minister for Science & Technology Department Sajad Ahmed Lone said that government’s endeavor is to harness the potential of science and technology as an instrument of socio-economic change and to shift dependence for our energy needs to renewable energy sources.The department aims to, through its endeavors increase reach, use of renewable means by making it accessible, efficient so as to integrate its use in every household. For this, the department is working on multiple fronts viz, providing subsidized products consuming renewable energy including solar cooker, stoves, lamps, geysers and promotion of these gadgets by way of creating awareness among people.Winding up the discussion in the Legislative Assembly on Demand for Grants of the departments under his charge, the Minister said that Science and Technology department has two important verticals, the Jammu & Kashmir Energy Development Agency (JAKEDA) and Science & Technology Innovation Council (ST&IC) having separate mandates.Listing major achievements in JAKEDA, the Minister informed the House that earlier the agency was mandated to execute hydel projects upto 2 MW only but with the government intervention, it is now enhanced from 2 MW to 10 MW for implementation in EPC & IPP mode.
With a view to provide more technical hands to JAKEDA and to make it a purely skilled manpower driven organization, organizational restructuring has been done in the year 2017, he said adding that the new structure which is relevant and robust shall be in place shortly.The Minister further informed the House that department is in the process of creating Renewable Energy Corporation which would catalyze the development of renewable energy resources besides providing easy access to capital which is the fundamental requirement for Project development.Giving details of scheme wise achievements, the Minister said that Under Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP), an amount of Rs1000crores has been earmarked for development of SHP sector through JAKEDA. In phase-I, 13SHP potential sites having an aggregate capacity of 111.5 MW are being developed; work on phase-I projects is likely to commence by March 2018.
He said that for Mini Hydel Projects (upto 2 MW capacity), JAKEDA has prepared DPRs for 156 mini hydel power project sites envisaging cumulative capacity of 253 MW and has awarded 35 Mini Hydel Project (MHPs) sites having aggregate capacity of about 60 MW to Independent Power Producers (IPPs) for development. Out of these 35 sites, the work on five MHP sites is in progress.Elaborating on the development of Solar Sector in the State, the Minister informed that JAKEDA has been allocated a collective target of 1150 MW of Solar Power by the MNRE, to be achieved by the end of year 2022.He said that for Grid Connected Rooftop Solar Power, JAKEDA is offering a subsidy of 70% and 60% to set-up grid connected power plants for domestic/institutions and government building respectively. About 5 MW aggregate capacity is expected to be achieved during the current financial year.He informed that the Department proposes to install about 50MWs Solar Rooftop on Government building during the next financial year for which the Finance Department has agreed to provide Beneficiary Share through a solar fund dedicated for the purpose.
He informed that in order to develop mega size solar power plants in the state, JAKEDA is in the process of identifying parcels of land adding that meanwhile the agency is inviting tariff based bidding for development of the mega plant on land either identified by the department or by the developer as per the land laws existing in the State.Further, the Agency has installed Off-Grid SPPS of 125 kW capacity under Border Area Development Programme.The Minister informed that JAKEDA has provided approximately 44000 nos. of Solar Home Systems under decentralized off-grid solar application programme of the MNRE to remote un-electrified 41 villages and 263 hamlets of the State and about 3000 Solar street Lights during the last two years. It is also promoting use of solar water heating systems and solar cookers and providing them on subsidized rates.
Further, the Department proposes to provide solar home lighting systems with 300w module to un-electrified villages/hamlets of the State SOHBHAYA scheme, which is funded by Ministry of Power through Rural Electrification Corporation, he added.To promote the use of Bio Energy in the state, about 20,000 family Size Biomass Cook Stoves have been distributed in the remote villages and 65 Biogas Plants were setup by the Agency during the last two years in the Jammu province.While informing the House about the achievements in Science Technology & Innovation Council (ST&IC), the Minister said that Rs 84.62 crore has been approved by the Ministry of S&T, GoI for establishment of 2 Industrial Biotechnology Parks to be established one each in Kashmir and Jammu.“These 2 Biotechnology Projects will be fully established and made operational in Two Years’ time period”, he informed.
For establishment of Sub-Regional Science Centre, he informed that expert team from GoI has recommended site at Lalmandi in Srinagar and under the revised guidelines, a fresh DPR at a cost of Rs 30 crore has been submitted to the Ministry of Culture, GoI for approval. It is also proposed to establish Science Centre at Jammu as well for which land is being identified, he added.The Minister said that during 2017, the department has launched an innovative project of Demonstration Farms of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in which 2 districts namely Kupwara and Kathua have been identified in Phase I.Giving further details, he said that the project will be implemented in 3 years and demonstrate the benefits of biotechnology cultivation and thereby help in developing the culture of agro-entrepreneurship through the cultivation of the MAPS.3 Distillation Plants have been established in the State for the processing and value addition of the produce from these farms under the project and by the end of March 2018, 2000 kanals of land shall be brought under the cultivation of aromatic and medicinal Plants.
Later, the House passed the grants of Science and Technology Departments, for the year 2018-19, amounting to Rs 73980.83 lakh which were moved by the Minister.Several members participated in the discussion on the Demand for Grants including Javid Hassan Beigh, Mian Altaf Ahmad, Pawan Gupta, Deena Nath Bhagat, G M Saroori, Abdul Rahim Rather, Mohammad Akbar Lone, Rajesh Gupta, Aijaz Ahmad Khan, Bashir Ahmad Dar, Chowdhary Qamar Hussain, Ali Mohammad Sagar, Krishen Lal, Vikar Rasool, Shah Mohammad Tantray, Abdul Majid Larmi, Davinder Kumar Maniyal, Mohammad Ashraf Mir, Mohammad Amin, Syed Farooq Andrabi and Mubarak Gul.