Few takers for Govt?s bio-diesel project | india | Hindustan Times
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Few takers for Govt?s bio-diesel project

THE MUCH-TOUTED bio-diesel manufacturing campaign of the Union Government is yet to catch the fancy of UP's small-scale entrepreneurs even after two years of its funding for jatropha plantations across the country.

india Updated: Apr 08, 2006 01:33 IST

THE MUCH-TOUTED bio-diesel manufacturing campaign of the Union Government is yet to catch the fancy of UP's small-scale entrepreneurs even after two years of its funding for jatropha plantations across the country.

“As far as small scale entrepreneurs are concerned, very few of them in Uttar Pradesh are interested to set up refineries for extracting jatropha seed oil for manufacture of bio-diesel in the State”, Rajnish Sethi, Chairman of the Agri and Food Processing Working Group of Indian Industries Association (IIA) said.

He said the gestation period for getting the desired seed output from jatropha cultivation is too long, which is between four to five years. “If you have to wait for the jatropha seeds to arrive in a refinery after every four to five years for extracting oil from them, let us know how many small entrepreneurs would be interested to invest in an seed oil extraction plant which costs anywhere between Rs 12 to 15 crores to set up in the country”, Sethi said.

He said that the cost of jatropha seeds in the open market is anywhere between Rs 60 to 70 per kg as cultivation is yet to pick up to desired levels in Uttar Pradesh . “ It would be prudent for the state's farmers not to sacrifice their fertile agricultural lands for growing jatropha plants as the gestation period to get seeds out of jatropha planations is very long”, Sethi said.

The state government should encourage jatropha plantation only on barren lands as farmers could face unbearable hardships if the same is grown in agricultural lands instead of cash crops, he advised.

Moreover, the jatropha seeds which had been arriving in the market in Uttar Pradesh aren't of a very high quality which means that the oil extractors may incur losses due to poor quality of oil extracted from these seeds in future, Sethi said.

The Uttar Pradesh Government had set up a “Jatropha Mission Cell” in Lucknow for encouraging jatropha plantations across the state with a massive funding support both at the state and the central level to carry out the plantation project .

More than 100 acres of land had been earmarked in and around Lucknow for jatropha plantations by the state government for production of bio-diesel in Uttar Pradesh, official sources added.