Hombelaku and Hongirana

Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar on Wednesday launched two projects — Hombelaku and Hongirana — to decentralise biofuel extraction units and to offer biofuel products under one roof.

The projects have been initiated by the Karnataka State Biofuel Development Board.

Mr. Shettar said the BJP government had given utmost importance to biofuel by setting up the Biofuel Task Force in 2008, bringing out the Biofuel Policy in 2009 and setting up the Karnataka State Biofuel Development Board in 2010. He said the government would continue to support the endeavours of the board to popularise biofuel so as to conserve fossil fuels.

On the occasion, the first outlet under the Hongirana project was opened in Bijapur. The outlet will sell saplings of plants used for producing biofuel, seeds, biofuel, de-oiled cakes, etc, along with disseminating information on biofuel.

Under the Hombelaku project, biofuel extraction units will be provided to women self-help groups (SHGs). The first such unit was provided to an SHG in Chickballapur district.

Board chairman Y.B. Ramakrishna said the government had set aside Rs. 1.5 crore for the Hombelaku project wherein 60 women SHGs would be provided the oil extraction units. They would also be provided with funds to procure seeds for extraction of biofuel.

Popularising biofuel and the use of de-oiled cakes as manure was expected to create employment in rural areas, strengthen rural economy and empower rural women, he said. Mr. Ramakrishna said that over 5.42 crore saplings of plants used for producing biofuel had been planted by 2.5 lakh farmers in the last four-and-a-half years.

Agriculture Marketing Minister S.K. Bellubbi, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board chairman Vaman Acharya and Western Ghats Task Force chairperson Anant Hegde Ashisar were among those present.

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