NEW DELHI, Jun 02: Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan has assured support to tap the huge bamboo resources of Arunachal Pradesh that can change the economy of rural masses.
The assurance came when Chief Minister Pema Khandu and MoS Home Kiren Rijiju made a courtesy call on Pradhan Thursday evening.
A biofuel refinery, the first-of-its-kind in India, set up at Numaligarh Refinery (NRL) in Assam will soon process biofuel from bamboo abundantly found in the state. The Arunachal Pradesh government signed a memorandum of understanding with NRL for sourcing three lakh tons of bamboo per year from the state.
The Union minister said that only 5% of bamboo resources of the state is used for paper production while another 5% goes into manufacturing of furniture and other building materials.
“Some 70 to 80% of your bamboo resources are wasted. We will tap it and the economy of bamboo farmers and the state would change,” he said.
Pradhan stressed on putting in place a robust system for procurement of bamboo from the source and prevent third parties or middlemen from creeping in.
He suggested establishing small processing units in rural hubs catering to a cluster of villages, which can be run by unemployed youths.
“NRL can then collect the processed bamboo from these units or the units on their own can deliver at Numaligarh,” Pradhan said, calling for an Amul-like structure.
He further said that the ministry has come out with a Vision 2020 document that includes an intense roadmap for the North East in oil and natural gas exploration, extension of production, distribution, research, etc. He requested both Khandu and Rijiju to go through the document and plan accordingly.
He proposed to hold a high-level meeting in Arunachal Pradesh to sustainably harvest petroleum and natural gas resources in the state to augment revenue and employment generation in the state. Pradhan hinted at visiting the state in July next.
Pradhan also discussed CSR activities of oil and natural gas PSUs in Arunachal Pradesh. He assured to sound the oil PSUs after the chief minister requested him to extend and enhance CSR activities in the state.
The Union minister, however, said that critical and priority projects in social sectors, particularly in health and education, will be funded under CSR.
Highlighting the ambitious Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojna (PMUY), Pradhan said that by the end of 2019 every household in Arunachal Pradesh will be connected by LPG under it. He requested Khandu and Rijiju to launch the scheme at block levels across the state and advised them to plan accordingly.
PMUY, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May last year, aims to safeguard the health of women and children by providing them with LPG, a clean cooking fuel, so that they are rid of smoky kitchens and do not have wander in unsafe areas collecting firewood.