As part of the effort directed at reviving the shut down sugar mills of the State, in principle approval has been accorded to the establishment of a compressed bio gas plant worth Rs. 180 Crore at Rakhra (Patiala) sugar mill. The decision was taken by the Cooperation Minister, Punjab, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa here today while presiding over a high level meeting with the top brass of the Indian Oil at the Markfed Bhawan. S. Randhawa further said that the project has been approved as part of the strategy of the Cooperation Department to revive the closed sugar mills of Punjab and make use of them. The project while on one hand would be useful in tackling the problem posed by the paddy stubble burning and on the other hand would come in handy in terms of generating job avenues. He also said that Paddy straw would be bought from the farmers through the cooperative societies for this bio gas plant which would increase the income of the local cooperative societies thus strengthening the cooperative movement at the grassroots level. The plant would produce bio gas from paddy straw as well as bio mass. After the first project, the options to establish 2 more such projects in the State would also be explored. S. Randhawa also added that it was also decided in today's meeting that the next meeting would take place on the 18th of March in which the detailed proposals with regard to the project would be debated upon and the draft of agreement by mutual consent would be presented. He also divulged that he had taken up the issue of tackling the issue of paddy straw burning with the Union Agriculture Minister Mr. Narendra Singh Tomar. In that meeting, it was decided to take up the issue with the Union Petroleum Ministry and mull over setting up such plants.
On the occasion, the Chief General Manager of the Indian Oil Mr. Shantanu Gupta and the Deputy General Manager (Alternate Energy) Mr. Bijay Kumar agreed to start the project and informed that the novel project would produce daily 30 tonnes of gas and 100 tonnes of natural manure. The project would also benefit the farmers coming within the 20 Km radius from whom the paddy straw would be purchased for using in the plant.In his address, the Chairman Sugarfed Mr. Amrik Singh Aliwal said that the Punjab Government on one hand, has chalked out comprehensive projects with regard to the renovation of the sugar mills aimed at their revival, On the other hand, the State Government is also seriously planning to use the space of the closed sugar mills which has led to the present project being green signalled.The MD, Sugarfed Mr. Punit Goyal on the occasion while giving the details of the background of the project, said that S. Randhawa had written to the Union Petroleum Minister on 26th Of November, 2019 for making use of the empty space of the closed sugar mills and advocated that the Indian Oil be accorded permission to set up projects at the closed sugar mills at Patiala and Tarn Taran. On the directions of the Petroleum Ministry, the Executive Director of the Indian Oil Mr. Subodh Kumar had met the officers of the Sugarfed on the 20th of February, 2020 and agreed to set up the compressed bio gas plants in the closed sugar mills. It was in order to explore the potential of these projects that the Indian Oil visited the Rakhra sugar mill on 26th February, 2020 and took the decision to establish the project. Among other dignitaries present on the occasion included the Chairman of Sugarfed Mr. Amrik Singh Aliwal, Additional Chief Secretary (Cooperation) Kalpana Mittal Baruah, Registrar Cooperative Societies Mr. Vikas Garg, MD Sugarfed Mr. Punit Goyal, MD Markfed Mr. Varun Roojam and the Deputy Chief Engineer Sugarfed Mr. Kanwaljit Singh.