Punjab Govt inks MoU with Virgo Corp for bio-fuel project to check stubble burning, boost renewable energy

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Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh & US Envoy Juster hail the project as major step towards future collaborations



Giving a major fillip to its efforts to check stubble burning and boost the renewable energy sector, the Punjab Government led by Captain Amarinder Singh today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Virgo Corporation for a ₹630 crore Biofuel project, for which technology will be provided by the US giant Honeywell.

Virgo will use the technology to extract bio jet fuel from rice husk to set up a Rapid Thermal Processing plant, which will provide over 150 direct and 500 indirect jobs.

The MoU was signed in the presence of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and US Ambassador to India Kenneth I. Juster. Virgo’s MD Kanav Monga was present on the occasion. The project would pave the way for potential future collaborations in terms of investments, technology transfer etc. between Punjab and the US.

The Chief Minister said the project would go a long way in containing the environmental pollution due to stubble burning, besides supplementing the income of farmers by helping turn the unmanageable agro-waste into raw material for producing bio fuel. He pointed out that every paddy season, the state generates nearly 20 million metric tonnes of paddy straw, which would be scientifically utilized for manufacturing bio fuel.

Captain Amarinder Singh hailed the project as a landmark that would be instrumental in generating renewable energy, besides solving the state’s stubble burning issue. With the shift towards renewable energy, Punjab would also augment its power generation capacity with a commitment for a cleaner future, he added. Besides incentivizing the farmers to sell their crop stubble in lieu of burning it, the project would support the government’s requirements for national bio-fuel blending targets as well as important air quality initiatives, such as the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), said the Chief Minister.

Reiterating his firm commitment towards environmental sustainable development goal and facilitating projects of similar nature in Punjab, the Chief Minister said that Invest Punjab had been proactively working to steer similar projects. He pointed out that German company Verbio had got initial site clearances for setting up a BioCNG facility, while GoI Navratna HPCL got land & was in process of obtaining site clearances for setting up of Bioethanol facility. Further, land has been allotted to Indian corporate giant Mahindra & Mahindra for setting up of a Bio CNG facility in the state.

US Ambassador Kenneth I. Juster said that the project for which the MoU had been signed was of critical importance as it demonstrated how collaboration towards a common vision could bring sustainable solutions and positive change. When companies and governments are willing to come together, share resources and expertise, and develop new and innovative approaches, the potential benefits to the society can be truly phenomenal, he added.

Notably, the MoU was the outcome of concentrated efforts from Invest Punjab, the Government of Punjab and the US Embassy’s Foreign Commercial Service (FCS). Matchmaking from US Embassy’s FCS allowed for the identification of a specific US technology to transform left-over crop stubble from Punjab’s rice paddies into bio-fuel and the effective partnership from both governments connected the US and Indian business partners. Virgo Corporation and US technology partner Honeywell had signed a MoU in December 2018, to develop the project after initial introductions by the US Embassy FCS team & Invest Punjab.

Prominent amongst others present on the occasion were Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, Media Advisor to CM Raveen Thukral, Chief Principal Secretary to CM Suresh Kumar, Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh, Advisor Investment Promotion Major B.S. Kohli, ACS Investment Promotion Vini Mahajan, CEO Punjab Bureau of Investment Promotion Rajat Agarwal and representatives from Virgo Corporation and Honeywell, including Kanwal Monga, Mike Bannach, Col. Channa and Dharmesh Mahajan.

Grand Finale of Startup India Punjab witnesses winners from all age groups coming with innovative ideas

Self-cleaning toilets,  interactive 3D textbooks, smart device for speech impaired and bindis that can provide nutrition to pregnant women steal the show


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15 winners who emerged from the 523 ideas that had been submitted in varied fields such as social sector, IT/Digital marketing/E-commerce, health and wellness, agriculture and manufacturing today felicitated by PWD and Information Technology Minister Mr. Vijay Inder Singla and Minister of Industries & Commerce Mr. Sunder Sham Arora during Grand Finale of the Startup India Punjab Yatra organised at the Indian School of Business, Mohali.

10The program saw winners from across all age groups coming up with innovative ideas like self-cleaning toilets;  interactive 3D textbooks; a smart device for giving a voice to speech impaired individuals; and bindis that can provide nutrition to pregnant women.

The event was also attended by home grown startup stalwarts like Mr. Samar Singla, CEO & Founder, Jugnoo and Ms. Priyanka Gill, CEO & Founder, Popxo. Samar interacted with the participating students and shared his views on the importance of utilizing the resources the state has to offer. Further he mentioned that the key to Punjab’s growth are Punjabis and it is through their effort that Punjab can start a new revolution for startups in India. Star woman entrepreneur, Priyanka spoke about her journey from a small village near Abohar in Punjab to establishing India’s largest digital community for women. She spoke about the key ingredients in any entrepreneur’s journey i.e. education, having faith, being resilient and not taking no for an answer.

7The month long Startup India Punjab Yatra was flagged off by the Hon’ble Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on 16th January 2019. In order to scout promising entrepreneurs across the state, the Startup India Mobile Van travelled to 19 locations to spread awareness and to capture innovative ideas.

In addition, 8 Bootcamps followed by pitching sessions were conducted at eminent educational institutes in the State. At all these locations, the organizers were met with great enthusiasm and it was heartening to see the youth’s unrelenting passion and determination to translate their innovative ideas into reality.

95000 budding entrepreneurs utilized the Yatra platform to showcase their ideas to key Startup ecosystem players. The 118 best ideas and solutions that surfaced through the Yatra were shortlisted and provided with acceleration support to propel their Startup journey.

The objective of this Yatra was to identify a community of change makers in the State who have the potential to become the next big startup unicorns and make Punjab a hub for Innovative Growth. He added that the State aims to provide Startups with the necessary academic networking and funding opportunities, along with supporting Startups throughout their lifecycle, from an idea to a prototype to a successful Startup.

Punjab Cash Prize Winners

ਪੰਜਾਬ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਸੈਰ ਸਪਾਟੇ ਨੂੰ ਵਿਕਸਤ ਕਰਨ ਲਈ Rs 1200 ਕਰੋੜ ਦੀ ਵਿਆਪਕ ਯੋਜਨਾ ਤਿਆਰ

Punjab tourist destination

ਪੰਜਾਬ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਵੱਲੋ ਏਸ਼ੀਅਨ ਡਿਵੈਲਪਮੈਂਟ ਬੈਂਕ ਦੇ ਸਹਿਯੋਗ ਨਾਲ 1200 ਕਰੋੜ ਰੁਪਏ ਖਰਚ ਕਰ ਕੇ ਰਾਜ ਵਿੱਚ ਸੈਰ ਸਪਾਟੇ ਨੂੰ ਵਿਕਸਤ ਕਰਨ ਲਈ ਵਿਆਪਕ ਯੋਜਨਾ ਤਿਆਰ ਕੀਤੀ ਗਈ ਹੈ। ਜਿਸ ਵਿੱਚੋਂ 150 ਕਰੋੜ ਰੁਪਏ ਖਰਚ ਕਰਕੇ ਹਰੀਕੇ ਵੈਟਲੈਂਡ ਨੂੰ ਅੰਤਰਰਾਸ਼ਟਰੀ ਪੱਧਰ ‘ਤੇ ਸੈਰ ਸਪਾਟੇ ਦੇ ਸਥਾਨ ਵਜੋਂ ਉਭਾਰਿਆ ਜਾਵੇਗਾ।

ਸੈਰ-ਸਪਾਟਾ, ਸੱਭਿਆਚਾਰਕ ਮਾਮਲੇ ਅਤੇ ਸਥਾਨਕ ਸਰਕਾਰਾਂ ਵਿਭਾਗ ਦੇ ਮੰਤਰੀ ਸ. ਨਵਜੋਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਸਿੱਧੂ ਨੇ ਦੱਸਿਆ ਕਿ ਇਸ ਯੋਜਨਾ ਤਹਿਤ ਹਰੀਕੇ ਵੈਟਲੈਂਡ ਨੂੰ ਸੈਰ ਸਪਾਟੇ ਵਜੋਂ ਵਿਕਸਤ ਕਰਨ ਲਈ ਮਾਹਿਰਾਂ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਇਕ ਵਿਆਪਕ ਯੋਜਨਾ ਤਿਆਰ ਕੀਤੀ ਗਈ ਹੈ, ਜੋ ਕਿ ਵਾਤਾਵਰਣ ਅਤੇ ਪੰਛੀ ਪ੍ਰੇਮੀਆਂ ਲਈ ਖਿੱਚ ਦਾ ਕੇਂਦਰ ਬਣੇਗੀ। ਉਨਾਂ ਦੱਸਿਆ ਕਿ ਸੈਰ ਸਪਾਟਾ ਵਿਭਾਗ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਇਥੇ 10 ਕਰੋੜ ਰੁਪਏ ਦੀ ਲਾਗਤ ਨਾਲ ਸੂਚਨਾ ਸੈਂਟਰ, ਬਰਡ ਵਾਚ ਟਾਵਰ, ਪੰਛੀਆਂ ਦੀਆਂ ਰੱਖਾਂ ਅਤੇ ਨਿਗਰਾਨੀ ਟਾਵਰ ਤੋਂ ਇਲਾਵਾ ਕੰਟੀਨ ਤੇ ਪਾਰਕਿੰਗ ਆਦਿ ਬਣਾਏ ਜਾ ਰਹੇ ਹਨ।

ਸ. ਨਵਜੋਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਸਿੱਧੂ ਨੇ ਦੱਸਿਆ ਕਿ ਹਰੀਕੇ ਵੈੱਟਲੈਂਡ ਵਿਖੇ ਹਰ ਸਾਲ ਵੱਡੀ ਗਿਣਤੀ ਵਿੱਚ ਪ੍ਰਵਾਸੀ ਪੰਛੀ ਆਉਂਦੇ ਹਨ, ਇਸ ਸਾਲ ਇਥੇ ਰਿਕਾਰਡ ਲੱਗਭੱਗ 1 ਲੱਖ 25 ਹਜ਼ਾਰ ਪੰਛੀਆਂ ਦੀ ਆਮਦ ਹੋਈ ਹੈ। ਉਨਾਂ ਦੱਸਿਆ ਕਿ ਬਹੁਤ ਜਲਦੀ ਹੀ ਸੈਲਾਨੀਆਂ ਲਈ ਈ ਰਿਕਸ਼ਾ, ਸਾਈਕਲ ਅਤੇ ਬੋਟਿੰਗ ਆਦਿ ਸਹੂਲਤਾਂ ਤੋਂ ਇਲਾਵਾ ਹੋਰ ਸਹੂਲਤਾਂ ਵੀ  ਮੁਹੱਈਆ ਕਰਵਾਈਆਂ ਜਾਣਗੀਆਂ।

ਉਨਾਂ ਕਿਹਾ ਕਿ ਹਰੀਕੇ ਵੈਟਲੈਂਡ ਵਿਖੇ ਜੰਗਲੀ ਜੜ੍ਹੀ ਬੂਟੀ ਨੂੰ ਹਟਾ ਕੇ ਵਾਟਰ ਲਿੱਲੀ ਅਤੇ ਕਮਲ ਆਦਿ ਦੇ ਬੂਟੇ ਲਗਾਏ ਜਾਣਗੇ। ਉਨਾਂ ਦੱਸਿਆ ਕਿ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਰਮਸਰ ਗਾਈਡਲਾਈਨ ਅਨੁਸਾਰ ਹਰੀਕੇ ਵੈਟਲੈਂਡ ਨੂੰ ਪਹਿਲੇ  ਨੰਬਰ ਦੀ ਰਮਸਰ ਵੈਟਲੈਂਡ ਦਾ ਦਰਜਾ ਦਿੱਤਾ ਗਿਆ ਹੈ।

ਸ. ਨਵਜੋਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਸਿੱਧੂ ਨੇ ਕਿਹਾ ਕਿ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਰਾਜ ਵਿੱਚ ਵਿਰਾਸਤੀ, ਸੱਭਿਆਚਾਰਕ, ਮੈਡੀਕਲ, ਧਾਰਮਿਕ ਅਤੇ ਈਕੋ ਟੂਰੀਜ਼ਮ ਨੂੰ ਬੜ੍ਹਾਵਾ ਦੇਣ ਲਈ ਵਿਸ਼ੇਸ਼ ਉਪਰਾਲੇ ਕੀਤੇ ਜਾ ਰਹੇ ਹਨ। ਉਨਾਂ ਦੱਸਿਆ ਕਿ ਹਰੀਕੇ ਜਲਗਾਹ ਨੂੰ ਸੈਰ ਸਪਾਟੇ ਵਜੋਂ ਵਿਕਸਤ ਕਰਨ ਲਈ 6 ਮਹੀਨਿਆਂ ਅੰਦਰ ਕੰਮ ਸ਼ੁਰੂ ਕਰ ਦਿੱਤਾ ਜਾਵੇਗਾ ਅਤੇ 3 ਸਾਲ ਦੇ ਅੰਦਰ ਇਸ ਨੂੰ ਪੂਰਾ ਕਰਨ ਦਾ ਟੀਚਾ ਮਿੱਥਿਆ ਗਿਆ ਹੈ।