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


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.

Punjab to adopt innovative technologies to ensure cheapest power tariffs in the country

  • Rana Gurjeet coins idea of making every farmer a power producer
  • Asks PSPCL & PSTCL to study the feasibility of the project
  • Also asks department to ensure a big cut in power losses and thefts
  • 1 percent decrease in power losses & theft in the state will save Rs 1800 Crores

After gaining power surplus status, Punjab Government is focusing on adopting innovative technologies to ensure cheapest power tariffs for its different categories of power consumers. Irrigation and Power Minister Rana Gurjeet Singh who himself has expertise in power generation, has coined innovative ideas of power generation and distribution to meet increasing demand of power besides ensuring significant cut in power losses and thefts.

            In a latest meeting with the engineers and officials of Punjab State Power Corporation limited (PSPCL) and Punjab State Transmission Corporation Limited (PSTCL), Rana Gurjeet Singh coined an idea of converting every farmer from power consumer to power producer. According to this plan, each farmer’s tubewell motor will be replaced with power saving five star motor powered with a solar power unit.  Farmers will not only use solar power to run tubewell but he will also sell this power during idle period. Power Minister has asked PSPCL & PSTCL to study the feasibility of this project.solar pump

            “This project will not only provide an additional source of income to every son of soil but government would also save Rs 7000 crores it used to pay on power subsidy”, said Rana Gurjeet Singh while discussing this innovative idea with the engineers and financial professionals of the department.

            Stressing on the fact that 1 percent fall in power losses & theft in the state will save Rs 1800 Crores, Power Minister has asked department to adopt innovative ideas in the work style also. He asked Mr. A. Venu Prasad, Chairman cum Managing Director PSPCL to fix responsibilities and powers of all the employees of the department to increase their accountability. “We can bring a drastic cut in the power losses and thefts by ensuring regular monitoring, using quality products and brining transparency and efficiency in all financial transactions including billing process”, said Rana Gurjeet.

            Power and Irrigation Minister has also sought innovative ideas and suggestions from the engineers and officials of the department to realize the commitment of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh that his government will provide quality power at the cheapest tariffs.