DEHRADUN: The Uttarakhand Cabinet today gave its nod to a policy, permitting commercial use of dry pine leaves, considered the main factor behind forest fires in the state, for generating electricity.
The cabinet's clearance to the policy will pave the way for generation of 100 MW of electricity from dry pine leaves, besides setting up of briquetting and bio-oil plants, Urban Development minister Madan Kaushik, who is also the state government's spokesperson said after the Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat.
Apart from boosting alternative energy production in the state, it will also generate large scale employment opportunities at the local level, Kaushik said, adding that it will also reduce frequency of forest fires which cause great damage to wildlife and forest wealth.
Under this policy, 10 and 25 KVA power generating units will be set up in Uttarakhand through state-based voluntary organisations, firms, industrial units co-operative societies and community-based organisations, the minister said.
Around six thousand such units can be established under the policy which can give direct and indirect employment to around 60,000 people and help stop migration of locals in search of work, Kaushik said.
A 25 KVA dry pine leave power generating unit comes up at an estimated cost of Rs 25 lakh which includes grants from the state government under the MSME policy and the central government's share.
Twenty-five KVA power plants based on dry pine leaves will generate 1.40 lakh units of electricity per annum and around 21,000 kg charcoal which will bring an income of 9.3 lakh when sold, he said.
The Cabinet also decided to fully raze to ground three partially-damaged buildings of teerth purohits at Kedarnath for safety reasons, Kaushik said.