Punjab seeks pvt partnerships for ethanol plant
TO BOOST maize cultivation in the state, Punjab State Farmer’s Commission, an advisory body on agricultural issues, is in talks with private players to set up an integrated ethanol plant based on maize crop in Punjab. “We are holding talks with 2-3 private companies for setting up a plant for producing ethanol out of maize with an intention of giving an impetus to the cultivation of this crop in the state,” Punjab State Farmer’s Commission marketing economist P S Rangi said. Based on the feasibility study conducted on the issue of diversification from rice to maize for producing ethanol by Delhi-based Techno Economic Research Institute, the commission has proposed for establishing ethanol plant with an annual capacity of 30 million liters involving an investment of Rs 80 crore. The commission has also made it clear that if the talks between companies and commission remained inconclusive, then it would advise the state government to involve Markfed for setting up the unit. As per the study conduced by TERI, the state is required to reduce area under rice cultivation from 2.6 million hectares to 1.8 million hectares to conserve its underground water resources. The study has emphasised on replacing rice with maize which would result in saving of 200 cm of water per hectare and Rs 6,000 per hectare as government subsidies.