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.

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Swachh Paani – Punjab De Har Ghar Di Kahaani!

‘Boond boond mein vishvas…’ reads the advertisement of a popular mineral water brand in India. But why should an average household have to depend upon only packaged water for the assurance of purity and safety of their loved ones? Taking giant strides towards development, Punjab is looking to ensure access to clean drinking to every household in the State by 2016. A host of schemes and development initiatives are being undertaken by the State Government to achieve the 100% connectivity target, keeping in mind that not only is that a major milestone in development of Punjab as a State, but also the right of every Punjabi citizen as well – both in urban and rural areas.

Already, as a beacon of progress in Rural Punjab, in the SBS Nagar District, not a single household in villages is deprived of safe drinking water – the only remaining village, Kang, has also been commissioned for connectivity. The district has been nearing this gargantuan target for quite some time, the District Administration has faced a lot of hurdles to finally be able to proudly declare that all of its rural populace now has access to safe drinking water. A lot of hard work and labour has gone into ensuring that no family is left behind and is deprived of basic living provisions.

During the last fiscal year, nineteen villages were connected with drinking water supply at a cost of 7.72 Crore. The villages included Karimpur Chahwala, Chakli Sajjat, Jamitgarh, Bir Sarkar Alaias Bela, Herrian, Lal Majara, Surapur Theh, Kot Ranjha, Chholkran, Mallo Majara, Banna, Taunsa, Sarhal ranua, Kang, Jania, Chraan, Hiyatpur Rurki, Sotran and Ferozpur. Apart from that, the work of construction of new water supply schemes at eight villages Pojewal, Golu Majara, Behrari, Mutton, Makkowal Jabba, Sukar, Sarhal Qajian and Bahadurpur, is in progress. Five more villages have got approval for new water supply schemes and the work will be started shortly in Makhupur, Raipur Dabba, Mehmudpur Gadrrian, Jhungian and Lalpur.

Also, it is a matter of great pride that Punjab is now home to North India’s first Regional Advanced Water Testing Laboratory, set up at Water Works Complex, Mohali. This laboratory is the first of its kind, established at a cost of Rs. 4 Crores with the help of Government of India and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre. This lab has been set up by the Department of Water Supply and Sanitation for the analysis of Uranium and Heavy Metals in the drinking water. Earlier, water samples had to be sent to Mumbai for testing purposes but now with the setting up of the water testing lab in Mohali, not only Punjab but all the neighbouring states can take advantage of water testing facilities.

This laboratory would play a pivotal role in providing potable drinking water to the rural population. Since installation of reverse osmosis is not the complete solution to get potable water, as sometimes these also destroy key contents present in the water, this laboratory would provide all the solutions for pure drinking water. This laboratory has been equipped with two main equipments, namely, Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (ICP-MS) & Ion Chromatograph. These equipments are so sensitive that they can give an accurate reading up to the level of 1000th part of one milligram besides detecting uranium and heavy metals like Aluminium, Arsenic, Lead, Chromium and Cadmium in water. The Ion Chromatograph would test parameters like Fluoride, Chloride, Bromide, Nitrate, Phosphate, Sulphate, Sodium, Potassium etc in water.

Setting up of this highly advanced laboratory will check, detect and enable the treatment of uranium and other harmful chemicals in drinking water.

Burgeoning Scope for Aquaculture in Punjab

The State has experienced phenomenal increase in agricultural production during the last three decades, mainly due to extensive adoption of rice-wheat cropping system with assured irrigation facilities, leading the country in achieving food-sufficiency. Agriculture is mostly irrigation based in Punjab. Three perennial rivers, viz., the Sutlej, Beas and Ravi, flow through the state. The water from these rivers is utilized for irrigation through a network of canal systems covering over 14,500kms. However, injudicious surface water irrigation and excessive ground water extraction have led to a situation where fresh ground water resources have been depleting at an alarming rate in most parts of the State.

Special initiatives are being undertaken to motivate farmers into adopting allied activities besides Agriculture. Farming diversification, accepted worldwide, includes itensification of region specific Integrated Farming Practices combining agriculture, aquaculture, livestock, poultry, duckery etc. that has immense scope to improve income and sustainability in farming.

Farmers in Punjab are being motivated into adopting Pisciculture as a sustainable farming strategy. The vast open water resources of Punjab can be used for fisheries development. The state is endowed with vast water resources that include village ponds 10369 ha (7326) private ponds 2670 ha (1992) total area 13039 ha (9318), reservoirs (5804 ha) and 868 km of rivers.

Aquaculture fits well into the agriculture diversification plan in Punjab – it enables optimal utilization of water resources for multiple production systems and is expected to salvage and redress the current economic and environmental crisis emanating from soil problems in the state. In regions where water table is high, fish farming is considered most promising option as the ponds will serve as salvage/drainage systems so that the water logging problems in adjacent fields will be resolved.

Informing about the initiatives being undertaken by the State Government to encourage fish farming amongst farmers, a spokesman said that in district Amritsar itself, 648 fish farmers are rearing fish in 1845 acres of land. During the financial year 2014-15, Government Fish Seed Farm, Rajasansi has supplied nearly 32 lac fish seed of 6 different types of rear able fish and imparted training to 1953 fish farmers. He further informed that Pisciculture is fast gaining ground in Punjab. Fish farmers of the State have achieved the highest per hectare fish production in the country which is to the tune of 6250 kilogram per hectare. Fish farmers are also being economically supported. A farmer, on average, earns approximately Rs. 30 to 40 thousand annually from one acre of land where as a fish farmer can earn a profit of to the tune of Rs. 1.25 lac in the same time period, from the same piece of land.

Aquaculture development initiative in Punjab has been taken up at a crucial stage when Indian fisheries has been growing most vibrantly showing an 11 fold increase in fish production from 0.75 million tons in 1950-51 to 8.3 million tons in 2011-12 with an annual average growth of 4.5%. The Punjab Government is committed to providing all facilities with full fledged environmental surveillance laboratories and mobile water testing units for soil & water testing for the benefit of aqua farmers in addition to training camps being organized at different levels and modern training centres being set up to promote Pisciculture in the State.

Punjab lauds in the occasion of the vibrant Baisakhi

The popular seasonal festival of Punjab, BAISAKHI, is observed on the First day of the solar month of Baisakh of the Indian calendar. The festival traditionally portrays the heralds of happiness and is closely connected to the harvest season of the farmers. Punjab enthrals and engages in the bhangra beats to ward off malicious spirits who are thought to ruin the harvest. This lively festival marks the Sikh’s New Year and its celebrations dates back to the year 1699. The day was first celebrated by Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru for the formation of Khalsa community- the Khalsa Panth.

Baisakhi commemorates the harvest time of Rabi (winter) crops in the agriculturally rich state of Punjab and Haryana, therefore it is of utmost importance for Punjab. The festival of Baisakhi also celebrates the Thanksgiving Day in these states. Farmers visit temples and Gurudwaras in early morning dressing in a new attire to express their obligation to God for better fruition and a thriving agricultural season. Enthusistic bhangra and gidda is an integral part of this buoyant festival and Baisakhi fairs are fabricated everywhere to add on to the high spirits. 

This jubilant festival brings a lot of charm and verve in the virile state of Punjab. Established customs and traditions exclusive to Baisakhi are performed by the people with sincerity and devotion. The day commences with performing all major activitites in Gurudwara to celebrate the birth of Guru Gobind Singh and the foundation of Khalsa Panth. The harvest season is then welcomed in the agricultural soils through bhangra and gidda performances by the flamboyantly dressed men and women of Punjab. Basisakhi processions are carried out later during the day which is attended by men, women and children alike with faith and enthusiasm.

On the eve of this bright festival, the Punjab and Haryana Governor and Administrator, Union Territory, Chandigarh, Prof. Kaptan Singh Solanki extended his greetings to all Punjabis living in country and abroad.

Prof. Solanki established the multifarious importance of the festival of Baisakhi and its significance in the life of the farmers. The Governor urged the people of Punjab to celebrate this festival together irrespective of the caste, creed and religion. The spirit of this day should be promoted high with harmony, social cohesion and national unity in our Country.

Punjab throbs in the eve of Baisakhi!

For The Motherland… A Tribute to Martyrs

Jang-E-Azaadi Memorial

 

India’s freedom struggle saw many ups and downs and has been dotted with countless martyrdoms. Undoubtedly the Punjabis excelled in making supreme sacrifices and it is a matter of immense pride and honour for the State that all the watershed movements associated with the country’s freedom struggle like the Kuka, the Ghadar movement, Kamagata Maru, the Gurdwara Reforms and the Babbar Akali were spearheaded by Punjabis.

The spirit of bravery and sacrifice is imbibed in the blood of Punjabis. Initiatives that propagate a spirit of patriotism and self sacrifice amongst the people, especially the younger generation, must be made to sensitize our younger generations as most of them are quite unaware of our rich cultural heritage.

It has been in the fitness of things to embark on a memorial to pay respect to all those who laid down their lives in the freedom struggle. The Chief Minister laid the foundation stone of the Jang-e-Azaadi memorial near Kartarpur sprawling over an area of 25 acres at an estimated cost of Rs 200 Crore. He said it was a humble tribute to numerous Punjabi unsung heroes of the national freedom struggle, who made enormous contribution at the altar of the motherland. Recalling the unparalleled and unique sacrifices made by the Punjabis in the Indian freedom struggle, he said though the Punjabis comprised 2 per cent of the country’s population, yet more than 80 per cent sacrifices had been made by the Punjabis alone. Highlighting the role of Punjabis in the freedom struggle, CM Badal said that more than 80 per cent of prisoners of ‘Kalepani’ were from Punjab. He said all the countries of world have created grand memorials for their martyrs and it hurts him the most that our country did little in this direction.

He said he bowed in reverence to the martyrs for their supreme contribution to the freedom struggle and said that the Jang-e-Azaadi memorial was a real tribute in recognition to their unprecedented sacrifices and would always act as a beacon to guide the destiny of our future generations as well as showcase the unparalleled contribution of Punjabis in the national independence movement.

Punjabis have always followed the teachings of the great Gurus who taught us to fight for right. Those who sacrificed their present to secure a better tomorrow for the nation had never died for any reward, but it is our prime duty to convey their message of selfless service for the motherland to our next generation.

MAHARASHTRA’S PUNJAB CONNECTION

Punjab played host to the prestigious 88th Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan from 3rd to 5th April 2015 in Ghuman. The three-day Sahitya Sammelan indeed has been a step towards strengthening national integration. The age old spiritual ties between the people of Punjab and Maharashtra is evident from the fact that Bhagat Namdev Ji who originally was a Marathi, spent over two decades of his life in Ghuman.

Baba Namdev Ji Government Degree College will be set up over an area of 10 acres at a cost of Rs 18 crore to impart quality education in science and arts to the students of this border belt of the state.

Mr. Nitin Gadkari and Mr. Sharad Pawar in the presence of Chief Minister laid the foundation stone of Bhagat Namdev Government Degree College and released the souvenir on the life and philosophy of Bhagat Namdev Ji.

Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and other eminent personalities like Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, writer Sadanand More, Former Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar attended the function.

It was proposed during the festival that a special train between Ghuman and Maharashtra should be started, which will boost the religious and cultural tourism between both the states.

A Cancer Free Punjab

To ensure health prosperity and enhance the State’s level in the health index of the world, along with other immunisation programmes, a Cancer Free State is enlisted as one of the priorities.

Cancer eradication has been a long time goal in health & public welfare initiatives in Punjab and proactive measures are being undertaken to make the State cancer free. An adequate sum has been allotted to hospitals for dedicated infrastructure facilities for the treatment Cancer patients in the State and installation of the latest technology and equipments necessary in the treatment of Cancer.

Taking a step towards realising the dream of a cancer free Punjab, the Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital (HBCH) is being set up at Sangrur post signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) recently with Tata Memorial Centre (TMC), Mumbai. The aim is to impart quality diagnosis and facilitate treatment of patients in the Malwa region of the state. This treatment centre will preserve the facilities related to high-end cancer diagnostic and treatment including RT treatment requirements like 3D-CRT, SRS, IMRT, IGRT etc. along with chemotherapy and surgical facility.