Our Bureau

Pune, Jan 9

GOVIND Gramin Prathisthan, an Ahmednagar-based NGO, is set to launch a pilot project to produce biodiesel from jatropha. The trial run is slated to begin in May.

Speaking to newspersons, Mr Govind Gulabrao Kale, the founder, said that till date a total area of 1,092 sq hectares of jatropha plantations has been raised during the first monsoon.

Some 20 lakh plants 2-5 ft tall are being grown in five villages of Vankute, Dhoki, Dhotre, Dhavalpuri, and Gajdipur of Parner taluka of Ahmednagar since July 2002. Some of these plants have started yielding their first seeds this year, he said.

It was in August 1998 that Mr Kale founded Govind Gramin Prathisthan in Ahmednagar district with the idea of social welfare. In 2001 a proposal for `Watershed Development Programme' was made under the drought area management plan for Parner taluka.

The actual process, however, started in July 2002 in 10 watersheds in the five villages mentioned. In each of these villages, councils and groups were formed and the village needs evaluated.

Based on this evaluation, planning for of the projects were done . Soil conservation formed 70 per cent of the project and water conservation 30 per cent.

Mr Kale undertook the task of planting jatropha under the DPAP programme funded by the Government.

It has been a year and a half since the first plantation and this year many plants are in the flowering stage.

Mr Kale said that the NGO has been working regularly to promote oil extraction with the production of jatropha seeds. But, he added, it would need some financial aid from the Government to run the pilot project.

For this, he and some 25 farmers are approaching the Government for assistance.

Mr Kale also said that 30-40 per cent of the jatropha seeds are used for production of biodiesel; after extraction, they obtain an oil cake with 38 per cent protein.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 10, 2006)
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