Having set up various successful business models for converting cow dung and agricultural waste into clean energy and bio-fertiliser, Gujarat can be model for the country in GOBAR-Dhan projects, said Mr. Arun Baroka, Additional Secretary, Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS), Ministry of Jal Shakti.
Speaking virtually to officials of Gujarat, the AS in a presentation titled ‘Waste to Wealth in Rural Areas – GOBAR-Dhan: a unified approach by the Government of India,’ on November 18, 2020 referred to the three successful models in Gujarat that can be emulated in other Bovine States of the country:
Zakariyapura model – a cooperative led cluster model facilitated by NDDB in Anand, Gujarat; Umreth model – an entrepreneur led central anaerobic digester model also in Anand, Gujarat; and Banas Dairy in Banaskantha, Gujarat – a cooperative led central anaerobic digester model that provides economic benefits to farmers.
Gujarat was represented by Mr. Vijay Nehra, Commissioner cum Secretary, Rural development; Special Commissioner, SBM-G; Development Commissioner, Panchayats; Registrar-Cooperative Department; Managing Director, GAIC Ltd; Director- Agriculture, Animal husbandry and Deputy Director, Horticulture.
Mr. Baroka said that many variations were possible, and any model can be adopted to suit the local conditions. On its part, the Government of India has created a positive ecosystem: While the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued guidelines on Priority Sector Lending (PSL) including compressed biogas (CBG) plants, the SBI has come out with a new loan product for financing CBG plants under SATAT Scheme for Rs. 5,000 crores; and the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers’ Welfare has included CBG plants in the list of eligible projects under Agriculture Infrastructure Fund.
On the role of the States – they are required to identify a nodal department, form committees at district and state level in convergence with line departments, identify potential districts, site location of plant, prepare detailed project plan, construct plant and efficiently use biogas and slurry. The governance arrangements at State, District and Village levels were explained with a tentative timeline.
The Gujarat contingent explained that their ability to sell the bio-fertilizer produced will ensure the economic viability of the projects. To promote marketing of the product, similar subsidy that is provided for chemical fertilizers should be given for organic fertilisers.
The team also requested handholding support for fertilizer companies, branding and marketing of bio-fertilizers, adding that convergence with other Departments will make their projects more successful.
Mr. Baroka informed that the Government is aware of their concerns and will provide all the support they need. Further, oil companies would work with them by nominating their nodal person to provide advice on policy and other handholding support. Also, NDDB and Ministry of Petroleum and Fertiliser would be involved to support their projects.