Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Friday announced that the state government would soon evolve an economically viable and farmer-friendly policy to address the problem of paddy straw burning, adding that paddy straw would ensure returns to farmers as it could be used for power generation as a renewable source of non-conventional energy.
Inaugurating the two-day stakeholders' consultative conference on policy for utilisation and management of paddy straw in Punjab, jointly organised by the Punjab State Science and Technology Council (PSSTC) and the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), Badal said Punjab had an abundant stock of biomass, especially paddy straw, which could be optimally used for producing power. He emphasised on a farmer friendly-policy for management and disposal of paddy waste in a productive manner.
Declaring the issue of paddy straw burning as a national problem, the CM said he would soon take up the matter with the Prime Minister and the union ministers of new and renewable energy, and environment and forests. He said the Centre should come to the rescue of the Punjab government so that this problem could be tackled on top priority in an efficacious and result-oriented manner.
The CM also said that he would take up the issue of enhancing the quantity of blending ethanol produced from biomass in petrol from the existing content of 5% to at least 10%.
Badal also evinced interest to set up joint ventures of biomass power generation in the public private partnership (PPP) mode and asked the Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA), the nodal agency to facilitate the grant of clearances in this regard, expeditiously.
Taking part in the deliberations, non-conventional energy minister Bikram Singh Majithia said there was a need to build pressure on the Centre to revise existing rates of power generated from biomass.