Friday, 16 September 2011

Uttarakhand to copy Kiwi biofuel experiment, Courtesy Ruchi Soya

Written by Anil Singh

Jatropha or Ratanjot Fruit on Plant
Ruchi Soya, the Indore-based oilseed company with many oil brands in market and a Rs 13,000-crore turnover, is keen to replicate the experiment done by New Zealand — of using biodiesel, an alternative green fuel from Jatropha (or Ratanjot) plants, to profitably fly airplanes.

To attain this objective, Ruchi Soya has already acquired Uttaranchal Biodiesel Ltd (for Rs 30 crore), an Uttarakhand government’s joint venture company -- set up in 2004 to promote cultivation of Jatropha plants for extracting biodiesel in the hill state. But owing to an alleged scandal over the plantation of jatropha and poor planning, UBL went into disuse since 2007.

Jatropha or Ratanjot dried fruit with seeds within for oil extraction
Uttaranchal Biodiesel Ltd, now a defunct company, can still help Ruchi Soya by roping in the jatropha cultivators in Uttarakhand. The private oil company can also make use of the existing biodiesel plants at Roorkee area of Haridwar district, previously set up by UBL.

Both the Uttarakhand Government and Ruchi Soya are hopeful of the successful revival of the Uttarakhand Biodiesel experiment.

About Uttarakhand Biodiesel Limited:

Formed in 2004, Uttarakhand Biodiesel Limited is a Uttarakhand Government’s company, established with an objective of cultivating jatropha at two Lakh hectares of degraded/waste land in the state. The company kept functioning till 2007, when the plant was being grown in an estimated 20,000 hectares at a cost of nearly Rs 20 crore (which many believed never actually took place and the numbers exist only in government records).

Even the Uttarakhand Bio-fuel Board, which was set up by the government, to promote plantation of jatropha, could not take off.

Such was the mismanagement on the part of the Government that cultivators who previously promised to grow jatropha in their lands never picked the saplings from Blocks and seedlings worth crores allegedly went wasted.

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