Em‘Power’ Punjab

Human activity is overloading our atmosphere with carbon dioxide and other global warming emissions, which trap heat, steadily drive up the planet’s temperature, and create significant and harmful impacts on our health, our environment, and our climate.

Considering the current situation and pondering over the future, Punjab Government is clear that there is a huge need to replace the non-renewable sources of energy with renewable ones. The State has already started working upon solar infrastructure to provide sustainable energy source to its people. The solar plants and roof tops that have been installed by Punjab Government have ensured that the State is one step ahead in energy conservation.

Solar Project at Lallian Kalan
Solar Project at Lallian Kalan

To name few projects already installed by the Government are: Plant Capacity of 1MW at Lallian Kalan, Dist. Jalandhar and rooftop solar power plant at Radha Soami Satsang, Beas.

Moreover, well known companies like Welspun Solar Punjab, Azure Urja, Madhav Solar, International Switchgears, Omega Solar Energy, Punj Lloyd have joined hands with Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) for promoting renewable resources. The State is already known for depending on thermal generations producing 57MW of solar photovoltaic power, and with the deployment of 19 new projects, the State is expecting to produce 215MW of solar power.

The vision of Punjab’s New and Renewable Energy Minister, Mr. Bikram Singh Majithia of producing 4120MW energy by 2020 is expected to give a new and beneficial direction to both rural as well as urban areas of Punjab. Relying upon the facts that the energy produced is an eco-friendly, versatile, affordable, inexhaustible and of multipurpose use, Punjab is investing in the correct direction.

The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy Sources is working with the concept of generating clean and green energy and protecting the environment for future generations. From domestic lighting to roads and highways, from commercial and industrial lighting to power deficient areas, Punjab is gearing up to conquer all the areas revolving around humans.

One of the most important insights of setting up solar power grids is that the setup requires very little maintenance and lasts longer. It also saves upon a huge amount of money as the cost of expansion of utility grid is usually very high.

Aiming for a clean and carbon-free State, Punjab Government plans to utilize the renewable source of energy in the best possible manner. The Government is dedicated to bring about an energy revolution in the State to safeguard both its people and the environment.

Solar Power Harnessing In Punjab

solar punjabWhen we say Solar Power Harnessing; it means cleaner, greener and renewable source of energy harnessed from the Sun through photovoltaic cells. These cells result in direct conversion of sunlight into electricity.

With the fossil fuel depleting at a rate 10 times higher now, people are looking for an alternate source of energy that is non-depleting and renewable. In context to this, Punjab Government has taken an excellent step towards empowering its people with a cleaner and greener source of energy. There is a lot of buzz about the Punjab Government’s new initiative of harnessing 1,250 MW of solar power in the coming two years.

Needless to say, every citizen in Punjab is excited about this solar power harnessing initiative in the state. People are expressing great interest in this renewable source of energy. The state is receiving an enthusiastic response from the farmers for land leasing. Till date, the landowners have offered 4,580 acres land on lease to the government to set-up solar power generation initiatives. With this development, the state’s farmers are ready to embark on an entrepreneurial journey through 500 MW farm level solar power generation in the initial phase. Gradually the power generation capacity will increase to 1 M.W to 2.5 M.W. If this is implemented, the State of Punjab would be successful in empowering each citizen and making the State self-reliant in terms of energy production. This State had led the way during ‘Green Revolution’ and it is all set to do so in the alternative energy sector.

Even the private sector is interested in investing in Punjab’s solar power projects. Many investors like Azure Urja, Madhav solar, Welspun Solar Punjab, International Switchgears and Punj Lloyd have eagerly lapped solar power development projects in the state. These developments will not only improve the revenue of the state, but also pave the way for Punjab’s solar power independence.

In a major initiative, the world’s only largest rooftop plant of 7.5 MW capacity has been set up at Beas, Amritsar district at a cost of Rs. 150 crore to Rs. 200 crore. This is a breakthrough for solar power harnessing in the state. Even rooftop solar PV plants are being set up in 120 police stations throughout the state. This is done to fight the power shortage, maintain incessant power supply and also to harness the best out of the solar energy.

These projects are meticulously monitored by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy Sources from time to time so that they are completed with better accuracy. Strategies are being developed to make sure all the projects meet generation targets.

This form of renewable energy will help environment conservation. Be it commercial, domestic or industrial or lighting up the power deficient areas, Punjab is all set to achieve its best. One of the most intrinsic factors of setting up solar power grids is its low maintenance and longevity that helps curbing cost. Setting up of different power projects will not only equip Punjab to be self reliant in power production, but also channelize the abundant power sales to different states or industries. Now, this will be a huge push to the state’s economy.

Apart from these factors, it will help provide cheap electricity to more than 4,300 homes in and around the state. This massive step, if taken strategically and implemented in time will make Punjab a cut above the rest of the states. Harnessing the solar power will not only empower Punjab but also its people.

Religious Fervour At Sri Anandpur Sahib

anandpur-sahibSri Anandpur Sahib witnessed a sea of pilgrims from 17th to 19th June, across the globe to mark the 350th anniversary celebrations. The town, referred as the ‘city of bliss’, was founded in 1665 by ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Teg Bahadur. It is also where the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, established the ‘Khalsa’ in 1699, giving a special identity to Sikhs.

The ninth guru who founded this holy town was an epitome of socialism and secularism as he sacrificed his life for the sake of preserving human rights in the country. The life and philosophy of Sri Guru Teg Bahadur is indeed a lighthouse for all us.

A magnificent display of horse riding and martial art skills such as “Gatka” by thousands of Nihangs marked the 350th foundation day function at Charan Ganga Stadium.

One of the main features of the 350th anniversary celebrations was the 81 feet high “Khanda” made of stainless steel and installed at Panj Piara Park in Sri Anandpur Sahib. It instantly became a hit on social media. Dedicating the ‘Khanda’ to the masses, Chief Minister, Mr. Parkash Singh Badal said that it was symbolic to the glorious legacy and rich cultural heritage of Sri Anandpur Sahib.  Recalling the immense significance of ‘Khanda’ in the annals of Sikh history, he said that its installation would be a humble tribute to the great philosophy of Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji. Mr. Badal said that ‘Khanda’ symbolizes the eternal spirit of universal brotherhood, courage and valour against the tyranny, oppression and injustice.

The Chief Minister was accompanied by Union Food Processing Minister Mrs. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who gave a clarion call to stop discrimination against girls. She said that elimination of gender discrimination would go a long way in shaping a healthy society and nation. Recalling the role played by women to safeguard and strengthening of Sikh Panth, Mrs. Badal said that we all should learn a lesson from the lives of those brave women who had served as forerunners in protecting the rights and interests of women. She also called upon the women fraternity to make Mai Bhago their ideal to combat social menaces.

Welcoming the Sangat thronged from across the globe to participate in 350th years of foundation day, Mrs. Badal said that our Gurus had made peerless sacrifices against the tyranny of the then rulers and we have a big responsibility to fulfill the dreams dreamt by our Gurus. Mrs. Badal also thanked Punjab Government and all religious institutions for celebrating this mega event on such a large scale.

During the occasion, the Chief Minister felicitated the Union Home Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh, Governor Chattisgarh Mr. Balram Ji Dass Tandon, Chief Minister Haryana Mr. Manohar Lal Khattar, Union Minister of state Mr. Vijay Sampla and BJP National President Mr. Amit Shah with a  momento, a shawl and a sword.

Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal said the establishment of Sri Anandpur Sahib marked the spread of the message of peace and universal brotherhood besides the need to oppose tyranny and injustice. He said that Punjabis had always acted in the path shown by the great Gurus and that they had remained forerunners in all struggles whether against the Mughals, British regime or the fight for Sikh causes.

Government of Punjab has staunchly believes in the concept of ‘unite and rule’ as this helps promote the message of peace and harmony. Sri Anandpur Sahib has always been a source of energy, enlightenment and peace. We believe that the unparalleled sacrifices made by great Sikh gurus would guide the destiny of people by proving to be a beacon for them. We hope the historic celebrations help in promoting the ethos of secularism, communal harmony and brotherhood in the country.

Mega Food Park At Ladhowal

Food Park LadhowalFood Processing Sector is the focus area of investment in Punjab. And that is why the state government has formed a separate department of Food Processing Industries to look after the schemes of National Mission on Food Processing, launched by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) for the 12th five year plan.

Three Mega Food Parks have been approved by MoFPI in Punjab, which are being implemented by International Mega Food Park Limited in district Fazilka, Sukhjit Starch & Chemicals Limited in district Kapurthala and Punjab Agro Industries Corporation in district Ludhiana. Punjab’s first Mega Food Park was inaugurated on 13th December 2014 in Fazilka by Union Food Processing Industry Minister, Mrs. Harsimrat Kaur Badal. The capital outlay of Rs. 136 crore was involved in setting up the first Mega Food Park and it is spread over 55 acres of land.

As promised by Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal, Rs. 140.50 crore Mega Food Park is ready to be set up at Ladhowal on 100 acres of land. Mr. K.S. Pannu, Managing Director, Punjab Agro Industrial Corporation said segregation of the land at Ladhowal and its station survey has been done and is all set to commence.

The primary objective of the park is to provide modern infrastructure facilities for the food processing along the value chain from farm to market. It will include creation of Centralized Processing Centre (CPC) at Ladhowal and Primary Processing Centres at identified fruits and vegetables clusters, including Malerkotla, Shahkot, Sultanpur Lodhi, and village Sandhwan. The Mega Food Park aims at providing a mechanism to link agricultural production to the market.

Centralized Processing Centre (CPC) will have facilities like individual quick freezing unit for vegetables, dry warehouse for raw material, steel silos for food grains, controlled atmospheric cold store, pre-cooling chambers, ripening chambers, deep freezers, reefer vans, milk chilling unit, weigh bridge, steam power generating unit, food incubation centre and testing laboratory. The basic infrastructure like road connectivity, water supply, drainage and electricity supply will also be developed according to the requirements of the companies planning to set up manufacturing plants in the Mega Food Park.

According to Mr. K.S. Pannu, 60 acres of land would be developed for food processing units and remaining 40 acres for development of common facilities. Also about 30-40 food processing units processing frozen fruits and vegetables, frozen french fries, milk, maize, bakery products, wheat pasta, tomato, chillies, snack food, eggs, malt, honey and turmeric would be set up in the Food Park.

To accelerate growth of food processing industry in Punjab, the state government has made tremendous efforts and has excelled in the domain too. The steps taken by Punjab government will definitely result in massive transformation in the agriculture sector in the state.

‘Solar Punjab’ For A Prosperous Punjab

Over 50% of electricity generated in India is through coal based thermal plants. This is a fossil fuel based power supply which is widely dependent on efficiency of mines and imports, which if disturbed, results in erratic supplies. This in turn forces industries and offices to use diesel based generators, which further contributes to air pollution. This wide dependence on coal and diesel has led India to become the third largest producer of green house gases in the world.

solar project ludhianaTaking a cue from this, Punjab Government has decided to invest in alternative energy solutions such as solar power. The Government has already implemented various projects and schemes in this sector and plans on expanding the same. These steps taken by the Government not only empowered the State and its citizens but also served to make the environment cleaner and greener.

The Government has left no stone unturned to encourage investments in this sector and also persuade more and more people to adopt alternative energy solutions. Here are some of the reasons why you should be investing in the State in the solar power sector.

  • For solar project, get village Panchayat land on 33 years’ lease
  • No registration or stamp duty charges on purchase/lease of land for solar power project
  • 25 years PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) with PSPCL
  • Provisions of LC and ESCROW accounts in PPA
  • No CLU (Change of Land Use) charges
  • Pollution clearance exempted
  • On NRSE (Non-Renewable Source of Energy) equipments there are no State Entry Tax
  • No parallel operation charges
  • 100% VAT exemption on solar energy projects
  • Electricity generated through solar power is completely duty exempted
  • No Property Tax for 10 years
  • Government subsidizes the solar rooftop plant set-up
  • MoU’s worth Rs 13,500 crore investments signed for solar projects
  • Landowners offer 4,580 acres on lease for Solar Project toPunjab Government in just 10 days

This step also aims to empower farmers to create green energy and harness solar power for prosperity of the State. Punjab Government is firm in its thoughts and beliefs to make the State absolutely self-reliant in the energy production sector.  Solar Punjab is indeed the right step to make the State prosperous.

Punjab To Be India’s First ‘Open Defecation Free’ State

Open defecation is a big menace in India. According to joint data statistics compiled by the WHO and the UNICEF, 597 million people practice open defecation in this country. In recent years, this problem has caught the central government’s attention and there has been an instrumental change in the policy implementation as well. The central government is working in tune with various state governments to implement the ambitious Swacch Bharat Mission on a massive scale. A part of this drive includes eradication of open defecation in the country.

Punjab Government has been championing this cause since long and various efforts by the government have brought the state on the brink of success. The state is fast marching towards acquiring the unique status of the first ‘Open Defecation Free’ state in India. At present, 75% of the state’s rural population has access to public toilets. The state government is aiming to cover the remaining 25% population by October 2017 through the construction of toilets.

The state has even approved ‘Punjab Rural Water and Sanitation Sector Improvement Project’ (PRWSSIP). Under this, 6,25,000 Individual Household Latrines (IHHL) will be constructed in the rural areas. Each unit will cost Rs. 15,000 and the cost incurred per unit will be financed jointly by the state and central government.

Last week, Mrs. Vijay Laxmi Joshi, Secretary to the GoI, Department of Water Supply and Sanitation was in Punjab to review the state’s Swacch Bharat initiatives. While reviewing them, she praised the Punjab Government’s role in realizing the dream of Swachh Bharat Mission. Also, she assured the state with adequate fund allocation for the same. Already, the state has received Rs. 41.40 Crores during 2014-15 to spearhead the initiative. Till 2nd October 2019, the centre has allotted Rs. 381.18 Crores to the state under this scheme.

The Government of Punjab agrees that Swacch Bharat is a movement for the behavioural change of the masses with regard to their health and sanitation issues. Constructing toilets can bring the change in the mindset of communities and inspire them to follow healthy sanitation practices.

The state is using the same approach to generate awareness among rural masses about ill effects of defecating in open. This will inspire them to practice hygiene and encourage them to use the toilets.

Punjab’s action plan has been instrumental in promoting sanitation as a carrier of Swacch Bharat Mission. The state government has constituted a State Sanitation Cell headed by Director Sanitation. District Level Sanitation Cells within all 22 districts have been formed under the chairmanship of Executive Engineers to execute the mission within the state. Even Block Sanitation teams have been formed in 146 Blocks to monitor that the action plan is being implemented at the grass root level.

With all these developments, the day is not far when we will proudly address Punjab a clean and ‘open defecation free’ state in India.

Punjab’s Eye Checkup Campaign For Students

Eye examinations are an important part of health maintenance for everyone, especially for students, as they play an important role in ensuring normal vision development. The Government of Punjab understands this need and has therefore taken up the cause of providing free eye-sight consultation and check-ups to all school going children.

Vision is closely related to the learning process in children. With undetected vision problems, many children face trouble while studying, reading and concentration. This affects their overall performance in academics and other scholastic endeavours. In Punjab, it was noticed that educational performance of students was lowering due to weaker eye-sight. Many times, this problem remained undetected because the students were unable to comprehend and express what ‘normal’ vision looks like. In many of such cases, parents were even unable to bear the cost of spectacles.

With respect to this realisation, the state took up the cause with Union Health Minister Mr. J.P Nadda and secured a special sanction for eye checkup. Under this plan, school children irrespective of economic criterion would be provided spectacles free of cost. To ensure regular follow-ups the state will also maintain a data-bank of such students in central server. This process will also facilitate eye-sight re-checks every 6 months. After re-checks, special provisions have been made in the project to replace the lenses according to the need. Instructions have been given to all the civil surgeons to monitor the progress of this exemplary cause.

During the last six months, the project attracted a great response among school-going children.  Approximately 45,000 students have already received free spectacles in Punjab. This is a great achievement for the state government.

The state knows the value of its future generation and is trying to help them with novel initiatives like this. With this free eye checkup campaign, the Government of Punjab has set a path-breaking example for the rest of the nation to follow.

While helping the children in vision development, the state has set its intentions to support their bright future and give equal treatment to all segments of society.

Eyes are the gift of god and to strengthen the eye-sight of the needy, the state is also extending eye-care to other sections through cataract surgeries. Already, around 2 lakh cataract surgeries have been performed in government and private hospitals.

This is just a beginning to reach a milestone of empowering Punjab with eye-care initiatives.

A step by PSPCL To Ensure adequate power supply

Punjab Power PSPCLPunjab and its citizens will not be bogged down by power cuts and other electricity related issues this summer. Apart from setting-up India’s largest solar rooftop in the state, the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has implemented another commendable initiative in the energy sector. PSPCL has geared up to ensure reliable power supply to consumers and eight hours of power to agriculture pump-sets during the coming paddy season.

PSPCL has made multi-dimensional arrangements to meet the escalated power demand and prepare an all inclusive strategy to restore power supply. For this purpose, power corporation has signed deals with various power companies to purchase power worth Rs. 4000 crore. This step is to ensure that they provide eight hour uninterrupted power supply to farmers of the state.

For consumers in Punjab there are Zonal offices have been established  at Amritsar (98888-91692), Jalandhar (96461-16679), Ludhiana (96461-22070), Bathinda (96461-18039) and Patiala (96461-46400) to keep consumers informed about the power supply position.Consumers can register their complaint on the respective zonal control room phone number.

Consumers can also file a complaint online or simply send an SMS. After lodging a complaint, a unique registration number would be allotted to the complainant and he/she would also be informed about the actions taken regarding the same. Interactive response system has been installed to instantly attend consumers’ grievances. Other than this, instant provisions have been made to replace damaged transformers and a time table of power supply will be available in the control room so that consumers/farmers are up to date with the schedule.

The State government has given instructions to engineers and employees to attend consumer’s complaints like interruption in power supply, replacement of damaged transformers and many more on priority basis.

Meanwhile PSPCL has achieved an 80 per cent growth in its consumer base. Also, it has the highest per capita consumption in India. Thanks to the constant efforts and sizeable contribution of the Government of Punjab the consistency of power supply has been established.

The initiative taken by Punjab Government to provide uninterrupted electricity is extremely crucial for the state and its people. More electric supply would give industrialists and farmers a chance to use their time judiciously and be efficient and effective at their work. Supply of power is indeed the first step towards social and economic development.

Why Punjab Leads In Solar Power Initiatives

Punjab is taking initiatives in launching innovative programmes in the new and renewable energy sector with the purpose to enhance clean power generation capacity. New and Renewable Energy Minister, Mr. Bikram Singh Majithia has called upon financial institutions and banks to provide credit to solar power developers in the State.

Punjab is actively promoting and facilitating the setting up of ground based, rooftop based, canal top based and reservoir based solar PV power generation systems. Punjab’s present NRSE power generation capacity is 811 MW and the vision is to take the capacity to 5400 MW by 2022.

Punjab and Germany have joined hands for creating a Renewable Energy Equipment Hub in the State. Germany has a strong presence and a proven track record in rooftop solar and biomass power generation.  Punjab has sought help from Germany to harness the huge potential available in this sector. Indo German Energy Programme has been proposed to facilitate linkage between the two countries.

The vision of Mr. Bikram Singh Majithia of producing 4120MW energy by 2020 is expected to give a new and beneficial direction to both rural as well as urban areas of Punjab.

Punjab Government has undertaken a comprehensive exercise to identify all the available panchayati and non-cultivable lands for setting up solar power plants. In addition, a detailed project report for setting up of 100 MW solar power plants on all major canals flowing through the state has also been submitted to the Union Government.

The State Government is also exploring the possibility of setting up solar power clusters to energize agricultural pumps. The Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) prepared a proposal for exploring the mechanism by which power for agricultural use can be provided from solar photovoltaic pumps or power plants.

It is a matter of pride for Punjab that companies successfully running solar power projects in Gujarat are now finding Punjab as a land of opportunities for their expansion.

There was a time when Punjab was facing an acute shortage of coal with long periods of power cuts. The provision of solar power energy has provided an additional energy source to the people. Moreover, it has also provided employment to a large number of people.

The Government has other pioneering projects in the pipeline in this sector. Having done an impeccable job till now, the Government is resolute to work hard and make Punjab shine in the renewable energy sector.

Organic Wheat Farming in Punjab – A Wholesome Farming Opportunity

As an agrarian state, Punjab has set many records in its favour for its abundant farming opportunities. The state, with its largest productivity of crops like wheat and rice is fondly addressed as the ‘Granary of India’. All these sobriquets not just bring great glory to the state, but also add on to a great responsibility to upkeep the farming sector’s productivity & improve it with the changing times too.

Organic Farming PunjabThe state is committed to bring the innovative changes in the cultivation of wheat and rice. And one such change is implementation of organic wheat farming in Punjab. This type of farming is catching great attention of the state’s farmers. This novel process is a sustainable way of preserving the fertility of our land resources in the natural way. It teaches farmers to take proactive steps and preserve the quality of land with the least use of pesticides and chemicals. The idea is to maintain the wholesome quality and nourishment of the wheat grains without industrial processing.

This kind of farming is on the rise in Punjab. After a lot of organic farming awareness drives, many farmers are now expressing their interest in it. They have realized that going ‘the organic way is the future of farming’. This wholesome farming opportunity is attracting many wheat farmers across the state. In fact, around 517 farmers in Punjab have already successfully secured fully organic certification status for cultivating 1,144 Acres of land.

The certification process wasn’t easy either. The farmers spread over different districts of Punjab were subjected to three years of gruelling process to qualify and get their produce certified as organic. SGS Limited, an authorized agency of Agriculture Produce Export and Development Agency (APEDA) played an instrumental role in helping the farmers of Punjab secure this organic farming certification. Also, Punjab Agro supported the cause for the tenure through consecutive annual external audits interspersed by internal audits of practicing, adherence and monitoring of organic standards of the selected farmers.

Through this organized movement, the farmers are now ready to undertake ‘Organic Farming’ for wheat grains on a regular basis.

Even Punjab Agro is setting up a marketing chain to promote this organic wheat produce on a global scale. This process will help these registered farmers to sell their product of sheer labour – organic wheat to the users.

The certified organic wheat cultivated on the state’s fields is marketed by Punjab Agro Industries Limited (PAIC). After cleaning and grading procedures, this nourishing staple grain is packaged in 25 kg jute bags for the convenience of the consumers.

The state is doing its best to support, project and promote organic farming of wheat on a continuous basis. The fertile land once changed its destiny through ‘Green Revolution’. With organic farming, the state and its hard working farmers are all set to embrace this wholesome opportunity for the better and reap its great benefits and returns as well.