As many as 750 biogas plants were set up in the district under the Central government’s National Biogas and Manure Management Programme (NGMMP) during the past five years. The Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA), that looks after the renewable energy resources in Jalandhar, informed that the number has been quite satisfactory, but more is needed to be done.
Supinder Singh, district manager, PEDA, however, said they the number is strikingly less than that of Sangrur district that has recorded around 1,0001,500 biogas plant installations per year.
Officials said that Sangrur records the largest number of plants in the state while Nakodar and Shahkot are two places in the Doaba region where many villagers are coming forward for biogas plants.
Supinder said that there was still lack of awareness among the people on how they can convert animal waste into fuel for various purposes.
He said that the district office annually receives around 150 applications of biogas plants in their houses. Not many villagers in the district have come forward for setting up biogas plant, but some people in the region, who have been utilising biogas as fuel, have been more enthusiastic.
Jassa Singh, a farmer, based in Loharan village in the district who has set up a biogas plant at his house some three years ago, said that they have been using biogas in their kitchen for the past three years, and have not bought even a single LPG cylinder since then. “I set up a biogas pant of six cubic meters three years ago and my family of four has been using the gas for cooking while we use its residual for agricultural purposes.”
Officials said that the capacity of the plant ranges from 1 to 6 cubic meter while villagers usually set up the plant whose capacity ranges between 4 to 6 cubic metres. Supinder said that the cost of installing a biogas plant ranges from `21,000 to Rs 25,000. It is to be mentioned that the government also provides a subsidy of `9,000 for every biogas plant.
For building a biogas plant, one has to first apply for the same at PEDA after which the government department guides them to get their plant set up by the government-approved workers, also known as masons.
PEDA officials informed government-approved self-employed workers are being provided training from at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana.
Officials said in the beginning, a plant takes 40 days to prepare the gas after which the process is quite faster. “The process gets accelerated during summers due to high temperature,” said an official. A farmer in the district said that from 30-40 kg of dung, a reasonable amount of gas is produced that can be used for cooking three meals of a fourmember family.