GOBAR-Dhan is a national priority under SBM-G: AS-DDWS

A national priority, GOBAR-Dhan has been included in Phase II of Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen (SBM-G) as an integral component of solid and liquid waste management (SLWM) to create wealth out of cow dung and agricultural waste, said Mr. Arun Baroka, Additional Secretary (AS), Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS), Ministry of Jal Shakti.

Speaking at a virtual orientation meeting on ‘Waste to Wealth in Rural Areas: GOBAR-Dhan – a unified approach by the Government of India,’ the AS informed that DDWS has been given the coordinating role and the Scheme will be reviewed at the highest level.

The vision of GOBAR-Dhan had already been communicated by the PM in 2018 when he said that through the initiative cow dung could be converted into biogas, fuel and fertilizer, leading to a Swachh Bharat and visual cleanliness of all the villages.

On the guiding principles, Mr. Baroka said the process would involve:

  • aggregating cattle waste and converting the same into biogas for domestic and industrial purposes
  • using bio-slurry – the by-product of the biogas process as bio-fertilizer
  • actively involving the community/SHG/Milk cooperatives in the operation and management
  • focusing on making the process economically viable for all in the value chain
  • encouraging entrepreneurship for large scale production of compressed biogas and bio-fertilizers.

Three models of bio-gas plants in Gujarat were showcased through video presentations: Zakariyapura (Anand) model that piggybacks onmilk producers’ cooperative society; Umreth (Anand) – an entrepreneur led central anaerobic digester model; and Banaskantha which is a cooperative led central anaerobic digester model.  Although many variations are possible, States can adopt models best suited to their local conditions.

The presentation also covered the potential for biomethanation in rural areas; the various biogas programmes of GOI under the Ministries of Petroleum, Animal Husbandry, Agriculture, New and Renewable Energy and DDWS; and the funding support available through RBI, SBI , MNRE and Department of Agriculture.

On their part, the States would need to identify a Nodal Department, constitute committees both at State and District level and make a coordinated effort for pilot implementation of GOBAR-Dhan 2020 in convergence with various stakeholders.

Expressing appreciation for the Scheme and the benefits it would bring, the Tamil Nadu contingent said that they had already identified 8 districts (Dharmapuri, Erode, Kanchipuram, Kanyakumari, Thanjavur, Theni, Tiruvallur and Tiruvannamalai) that would be suitable for GOBAR-Dhan plants with the Department of Rural Development taking a lead role.  Further, they have a strong network of milk producer societies at State, District and village level.  Hence, they would discuss with their technical teams and the line Departments, taking into account their local conditions such as climate, soil, bovine population, etc and come up with suitable models.

A representative from the Horticultural Department informed that TN has more than 360 horticultural farms that generate fruit, vegetable and other waste which can be included in production of biogas.  In this regard, they would motivate farmers through various schemes and provide training to equip them to implement GOBAR-Dhan programmes.

Meanwhile, the Department of Cooperatives said that they would look into the branding and marketing of the fertilizers produced; while the Department of Agriculture said they had numerous farms which generate waste for use in the Scheme.  They would like to also encourage individual farmers to take up models with the funds available.

Given that the State has more than one crore cattle population, the Department of Animal Husbandry, they would explore the possibility of establishing units.  On the other hand, the Department of New and Renewable Energy promised to extend all support for training and implementing the Scheme in Tamil Nadu.

The first project will be implemented in the Talavadi Block of Erode District that has a huge livestock population and many farms, as per the guidelines stipulated by DDWS.

Tamil Nadu was represented by:  Dr. K Palaniswamy. Commissioner, RD, Mr. Lakshmipathy Additional Director, Project Directors of 8 Districts, Director Agriculture, Director, Animal Husbandry and Director Cooperative , Additional Director, Horticulture, Officer from Nodal department of MNRE.

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