Nearly 500,000 people in 8,000 Chhattisgarh villages will soon earn a livelihood from growing jatropha plants, the oil from which is used to produce bio-fuel.
Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has inked a pact with Chhattisgarh Renewable Energy Development Agency (Creda) this week to float a joint venture for jatropha plantations on a wide scale in the next 5-6 years, according to official sources here Wednesday. ‘No less than 500,000 people will get jobs across the state during the next 4-5 years due to these jatropha plantations,’ a senior Creda official told IANS. ‘The memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between IOC and Creda Nov 19 here for a joint venture for massive jatropha plantations in the state would produce 300 tonnes of bio-fuel per day in the next 4-5 years.
‘It will provide village youth of impoverished southern Bastar and northern Surguja tribal pockets livelihoods in the completely new bio-fuel sector,’ the official added.
IOC will have 74 percent stake in the joint venture while the state government will hold 26 percent equity.
The state government will provide land to state-run Creda, which will then lease it out to IOC.
IOC will initiate plantations and will set up extraction units at the village level. The extracted oil will be taken to the refinery to be set up in the state for bio-fuel production.
The sites for the plantations would be decided soon based on findings of a comprehensive survey.
‘The IOC and Creda pact will revolutionise the economic set up of about 8,000 villages,’ the official pointed out.
He also said Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd has agreed in principle to enter into a similar tie-up with Creda and has already submitted a draft proposal.
The Creda official informed that the state government has targeted to plant jatropha in one million hectares of fallow or barren land by 2012.
Chief Minister Raman Singh, who says Chhattisgarh will emerge as India’s leading bio-fuel producer by 2012, uses jatropha bio-fuel for his official vehicle.