A Sikh NRI businessman from the USA has proposed to set up 1,000 MW biomass energy generating plants in his home state Punjab that will use the stubble from farms as the raw material in the energy generation. Chiranjeev Kathuria, the US-based businessman has stated that his company New Generation Power International is planning to invest in 4,000 MW power projects across the state of Punjab, of which 3,000 MW would be generated by the solar power and the remaining by using the biomass made from the stubble of both paddy and wheat crops. The crop residue will be bought from farmers adding an additional source to their income rather than simply burning it out.
The plan is to set up about 200 plants, each having a capacity of 5 MW. The plants will be strategically located near a major substation that will allow the unit to cater to 10 to 15 villages. Punjab's Revenue, Rehabilitation, and Disaster Management Minister Gurpreet Kangar has said that the power produced by the plants would be directly transferred to the main grid which will benefit the state's Power corporation with surplus power. He appended that the proposed project is said to require a budget of about Rs 25,000 crore and will be constructed by Kathuria on build-operate-and-transfer (BOT) basis.
The proposed power project aims to meet two objectives. On one hand, it primarily aims to eradicate the problem of air pollution caused by stubble burning. On the other hand, it aims to have power generation through waste which was burnt leading to air pollution. It will also improve the conditions of the state's finances.
Stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh has been one of the primary causes of air pollution and deteriorating air quality index in the respective states as well as the National Capital. The menace of air pollution had risen to the extent that the governments of the respective states had to shut schools and insist people to stay indoors amid the on-going crisis of air pollution.