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Energy experts demand legislation on bio-diesel

The Renewable and Alternative Energy Association of Pakistan (REAP) has called upon the government to introduce legislation on the cultivation of bio-diesel in the country and ensure passage of the Bio-Fuel Act 2013 from the parliament.

In an interview with the APP here Sunday, the Bio-Diesel Coordinator of the REAP, Rana Tauseef Iqbal said that the legislation on the bio-fuel (Jatropha plant) would provide congenial atmosphere for the foreign investments as well.

The REAP coordinator said that Jatropha plant provided a cheap solution to the energy challenges faced by the country.

Quoting Philipines’ government experience, he said that Philippians government grew jatropha nurseries on a 3500 acre area which were shifted to 1.8 million acre area in the second phase while the industrialists were encouraged to set up bio-diesel refineries in the third phase, adding that the five-year plan (2007-12) has played a significant role in the progress of Philippines.

He said that Pakistan could save 16 billion dollars on the import of diesel annually by the cultivation of jatropha plant on 5 percent of the 80 million acres of uncultivated agriculture land in the country.

The Bio-Diesel expert said that cultivation of jatropha plant on 1 acre land could produce 2000-3000 litre bio-diesel besides value-added products like the Methane gas, glycerine and NPK fertilizer.

He said that Indian Railways has been getting 25 percent of its energy needs from the jatropha plants sown along the railway lines in India, saying that the Indian government had decided to cultivate jatropha on 9.8 million barren land while it had also entered into a deal with an Australian firm for contract farming. The energy expert called upon the government to lease out government land to the farmers for the cultivation of jatropha plants and direct the banks to finance bio-diesel projects besides other facilities to the farmers including periodical tax remission.

He also urged the need of National Bio-Diesel Development Board in order to lure foreign investments, stressing that the government should include bio-diesel in the next five-year plan.

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