With the outburst of several opinions that Pine trees are posing a threat to the forests of Uttarakhand as they are highly flammable now the government has finally decided to do something in this regard. After a long wait now the Uttarakhand government has come up with an idea of producing electricity out of the chir tree leaves. In the recently witnessed forest fire, the abundance of Pine trees had actually worsened the entire situation by adding fuel to the fire that caused havoc in the hills.
In a proposal, the state government has been pleaded to generate electricity out of the pine needles which will provide revenue to the government as well as livelihood to the locals.
AK Tyagi, Director, UREDA, said that he has sent the policy draft to the state government in this regard, which he claimed is likely to be approved soon.Pine trees can even survive on less water and they sprawl over 17% of the total forest area in Uttarakhand. While, broad-leaved trees such as oak have disappeared due to excessive cutting down of trees.
The Uttarakhand’s forest department’s appeal of asking the locals to collect pine needles from the forest has proved to be a blooper. Now, the department is interested in the proposal of Uttarakhand Renewable Energy Development Agency (UREDA) to set up pine needles power plant across the state. In an interview the Principal Chief Conservator of the forest, Rajender Mahajan said, “UREDA’s plan to use pine needles for churning electricity and set up micro-power plants across the villages of the state is a laudable step. The forest department will extend all its support in the endeavor.”
There are over 10 lakh metric ton pine needles lying in the forest. Leaving out the four metric ton pine needles which the villagers use for their daily needs such as fuel and keeping the animal shelter rooms warm, the remaining part will be used for producing 150 MW power. The villagers can also turn entrepreneurs as they will benefit from the subsidies, the centre will offer Rs 11 lakh for setting up a 10 KV Plant, which will cost around Rs 15 lakh.Setting an example, an NGO called Avani Bio Energy has successfully experimented the idea of producing electricity from pine needles by setting up a 10 KV plant at Berinag village of Pithoragarh in 2008. To celebrate its success they are now planning to set up eight units of 10 KV each by March 2016 and 50 units by 2018.
Rajnish Jain, the founder of the organization said, “The forests are replete with so much pine needles that each hill village can have ten energy plants of 10 KV each, using pine needles as biomass. This one plant can give an income of Rs 2.2.5 lakh to the entrepreneur village and an income of Rs 600 to those who collect pine needles, as we pay them Rs 2/kilo.”