The government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a UK firm for setting up biogas and bio-CNG plants to tackle straw burning. The agreement was signed in the presence of Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal and British Deputy High Commissioner Andrew Ayre. A spokesperson said Punjab Bureau of Industrial Promotion and Punjab Energy Development Agency signed the MoU with Rika Biofuels Development Limited, UK. Punjab Infrastructure Development Board will facilitate regulatory clearances and incentives by the state government. These plants will be based on a new patented anaerobic digester concept and straw extruding technology. The company plans to build in excess of 10 bio-CNG plants, having daily intake capacity of 100 MT straw, at a total investment of USD 100-150 million, creating up to 1,000 jobs across the whole operation and supply chain. The first plant will be operational in 2019. The bio-manure so generated will be rich in organic and inorganic matter and would give a perfect mix of nutrients promoting long-term soil health and agricultural yield, the spokesperson added. Gregory Krupnikovs, Director of Rika Biofuels, said, “We look forward to helping Punjab and India end environmental problems arising from the burning of paddy straw.”

Source: May 12, 2018, The Tribune