Government told to decide fast on bio-fuels programme: Parliament panel
The Standing Committee on Rural Development, in its report on the demands for grants of the land resources department, noted that the bio-fuels programme was started in 2003 and "in-principle" approval had been given for "demonstration phase" involving plantation over 300,000 hectares of bio-diesel producing non-edible oilseeds (jatropha and pongamia) on degraded forest and waste land.
"The committee are perturbed to note that there is inordinate delay in finalisation of bio-fuels programme," it said.
The report, which was presented to parliament May 2, said the entire programme has been engulfed in a prolonged debate on the issue of its viability among the department concerned, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), a group of ministers (GoM) and The Energy Research Institute (TERI).
"The outcome of this long debate has not only consumed a decade of uncertainty on the issue, but also the entire programme is shrouded in mystery," the panel said.
It noted that funds have not been allocated for bio-fuels programme in the current fiscal (2012-13) as the decision on its future "has been pending for long."
"The department has informed that assessment report submitted by TERI is so negative that there is no scope for going in for further demonstration of jatropha plantation in the country. It has further been informed that it is now for union cabinet to take a decision in the matter...The department should place the matter before the union cabinet at the earliest for taking a conscious decision on continuance or otherwise of the bio-fuels programme," the panel's report urged.