Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah on Tuesday announced that 10,000 remote villages across the country would be electrified with renewable sources by March 2012 under an innovative initiative that will also generate employment.

“We will provide electricity to 10,000 villages at a cost of Rs. 500 crore by the end of the current plan period,” Dr. Abdullah said, while addressing a press conference to mark the start of the Delhi International Renewable Energy Conference (DIREC) here.

Under the scheme, one person would be appointed in each village for maintenance of power plants set up there. The type of plants to be set up would depend on the renewable energy source available in the villages.

Dr. Abdullah said the three-day DIREC conference would begin on Wednesday and be attended by 70 countries with 40 ministerial delegations. The Minister said the United States and China would be the largest participants and a number of MoUs signed between Indian and foreign new-energy sector companies.

Water mills

He said Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah would also take part in the event and meet representatives from Iceland, which had shown a deep interest in developing geo-thermal energy sources in the country. He said trials were on to exploit the energy potential of old water-mills in Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand.

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