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Uttarakhand to Produce Green Power from The Leaves of Pine Trees

Scientists say the main culprit behind the spread of such fires is pine needles - locally known as pirul

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Uttarakhand, Green Power, Pine Trees
For the past few years, forest fires have been creating havoc in the jungles of Uttarakhand. Pixabay

The Uttarakhand government has begun efforts to produce green power from the leaves of pine trees – known as pine needles – in a bid to reduce their quantity in the jungles as they catch fire very quickly.

For the past few years, forest fires have been creating havoc in the jungles of Uttarakhand, razing several hectares of land and even killing people and animals. Scientists say the main culprit behind the spread of such fires is pine needles – locally known as pirul – which catch fire quickly.

According to a government estimate, 3,99,329 hectares of the total forest area is covered by chir pine trees, so pine needles are found in abundance in the state.

As part of the move, the government has issued letters of award to 21 companies which would set up new power plants to generate electricity under the state’s policy of power generation through pirul. These companies would produce a total of 675 KW power.

Uttarakhand, Green Power, Pine Trees
The Uttarakhand government has begun efforts to produce green power from the leaves of pine trees – known as pine needles. Pixabay

The Uttarakhand Power Corporation Limited (UPCL), the sole government-owned power distribution company in the state, would sign separate power purchase agreements (PPAs) with these companies to buy power at Rs 7.54 per unit, said Chander Singh Bisht whose company – Bhagirathi Chidh Vidyut Producer – is setting up the biggest pirul plant in Dunda block of Uttarkashi district with a capacity of 125 KW.

Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat is taking keen interest in power generation through pirul and believes that pine needles have the potential to generate revenue and create employment opportunities in the hills which are badly hit by widespread migration.

“Pirul can generate power which in turn can generate employment opportunities,” he said.

Under this policy, the government has set a target to generate 1 MW by 2019, 5 MW by 2021 and 100 MW by 2030, said state Power Secretary Radhika Jha.

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Meanwhile, the government will pay Rs 1 per kg to those who collect and supply pirul from the jungles.

Already, Haryana-born Rajnish Jain has set up a small plant to generate power from pirul in the Berinag area of Pithoragarh district. This is considered to be the first such plant in the hill state. (IANS)

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Uttarakhand Plans to Ban Single-Use Plastics in Government Offices; Becomes Third State to Enforce Ban on Plastic

Sources said that a couple of government officers have already started this process at their residences

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single-use plastics
Through this initiative, the use of plastic glasses, folders, bottles, cups and other plastic items will be banned in government offices, he added. Wikimedia Commons

The Uttarakhand government is planning to ban single-use plastics in all government offices in the state. “We are in the process of banning single-use plastics in all government offices including the Secretariat,” said a top government official.

Through this initiative, the use of plastic glasses, folders, bottles, cups and other plastic items will be banned in government offices, he added. “This is our first step, we will see the response and then decide about taking further action,” said the official.

single-use plastics
“This is our first step, we will see the response and then decide about taking further action,” said the official. Wikimedia Commons

In another eco-friendly initiative, the government made it mandatory to convert biodegradable waste into compost in all government residences in the state. Sources said that a couple of government officers have already started this process at their residences.

“These initiatives may be small but through them we want to send a message of making Uttarakhand environment-friendly,” said S.P. Subudhi, Member Secretary of the Uttarakhand Environment Protection Pollution Control Board (UEPPCB).

However, the government’s resolve to enforce a complete ban on single-use plastic bags has still not been implemented completely as plastic bags are freely available in the market.

single-use plastic
Through this initiative, the use of plastic glasses, folders, bottles, cups and other plastic items will be banned in government offices, he added. Pixabay

“We have directed all district magistrates to ensure enforcement of the order to stop the use of plastic bags,” said a top government official. Uttarakhand is the third state after Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh to enforce a ban on plastic.

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In January 2017, the government issued an order banning manufacture, distribution and sale of polythene bags and single-use plastic cutlery. This followed an Uttarakhand High Court ruling in December 2016 which ordered a blanket ban on sale, purchase and use of plastic. (IANS)