Nafed to set up 100 bio-CNG plants with Rs 5k cr investment
In a major move that may help in increasing the income of farmers apart from protecting the environment, the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (Nafed) has decided to set up 100 bio-CNG manufacturing units using agricultural waste such as stubble, sugarcane waste, municipal waste, etc in the next couple of years. According to Nafed managing director Sanjeev K Chadha, the manufacturing facilities would be set up through public-private partnership (PPP) with an estimated investment of Rs 5,000 crore. The first three centres will come up in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, which is the largest sugarcane producing state where waste from sugar mills is available in abundance. We have signed an agreement with private players for establishing the manufacturing centres in NCR region,” Chadha said. In reply to a question as how Nafed would raise the estimated Rs 5,000 crore fund, Chadha said, “An agreement has already been signed with 4-5 private investors like Reliance, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and technology provider. Initially, 100 units will be set up across the country with an estimated cost of about Rs 5,000 crore.” He also said that Nafed would not go and search for a buyer as an agreement has been signed with Indian Oil Corporation for the purchase of bio-CNG from our plants at a rate of Rs 48 per kg. The biofuel would be much cheaper as at present Indian Oil is importing it at a rate of about Rs 63 per kg, he added. On the availability of raw materials, Chadha said, “The Nafed is mapping the farm waste resources at sugar mills, mandis and other areas to ensure assured supply. Farmers’ aggregators will also be identified from whom the agri-waste will be purchased, and they (farmers) would be paid upto Re 1 for their agricultural waste.” The work has already started for setting up of first three units in Muzaffarnagar, which is expected to be completed in next six months, he said, adding that each unit will have a capacity to process at least 100-300 tonne agri-waste, from which one-tenth of the CNG would be produced. The cooperative said it had achieved a gross profit of Rs 252 crore during 2017-18 fiscal with a turnover of Rs 3,213 crore.