Panel for privatising biofuel sector

A task force has recommended that the State government allow the private sector to take up biofuel plantation on waste and fallow land in Karnataka.

The 15-member task force headed by Y B Ramakrishna submitted its final report to Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on Monday. It has suggested leasing out waste land to the private sector, for which the government needs to amend the Karnataka Land Reforms Act, the report said.

According to an estimate of the task force, Karnataka has over 13.5 lakh hectares of degraded and fallow land. “District administrations should be assigned the task of identifying such land and steps should be taken to raise biofuel species at the grama panchayat level,” the report said.

The task force also recommended that the government encourage farmers to take up cultivation of biofuel crops through contract farming. Farmers, whose land in rain-fed areas have become unfit for agriculture, can enter into agreements with the private sector for cultivating biofuel crops. The government should make it mandatory for private firms to get necessary clearance from the Karnataka Biofuel Development Board for contract farming.

The government should purchase different types of non-edible oil seeds at minimum support price and store them for processing and selling. A processing centre should be set up in all districts and a mechanism should be put in place to monitor the feed stock availability in every district and channelise the stock to the nearest centre to ensure minimum carbon footprint.

The Centre’s biofuel policy has allowed mixing of five per cent ethanol with petrol. A proposal has been sent to the Union Ministry of Science and Technology to allow mixing of 10 per cent ethanol with petrol in the State. Once the Centre gives its nod, it will give a big boost to the State’s initiative to promote use of biofuel as an alternative fuel, task force chairman Ramakrishna said.

Govt to make full use of experts

Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa said the government would take necessary steps to implement the recommendations made by the various task forces including the ones on biofuel and Western Ghats, in the next two and a half years.

“I do not know what the next government would do with these task forces. But I want to implement the recommendations made by them by the end of my tenure,” he said.

He said the aim was to make use of experts in various fields in the development of the State. “US President Obama is using experts from India for the development of his country. It will be a crime on our part if we do not use these experts for the development of our own country,” he said.

*Allow private sector to take up biofuel plantation on government waste land.

*Amend the Karnataka Land Reforms Act to lease out government land.

*Encourage farmers to take up contract farming in biofuel cultivation.

*Extend five-year income tax holiday for biofuel production units.

*Government to implement all recommendations through a board.

*Set up single window agency to issue ethanol transport permit.

*Petrol and diesel blended with ethanol can be used for industrial application.

Traditional tree species

Pongamia (Honge), Neem (bevu), Mahua (Hippe), Jatropha and Simarouba
Major crop-based food stock for biodiesel Corn, Soybean, Canola, Coconut, Oil Palm, Microalgae A, Microalgae B

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