In what could turn out to be a cheering news for coconut growers, facing sharp fall in prices of their produce and for motor vehicle owners in India, the time tested experiment by an autorikshaw driver here testifying coconut oil could well be used as an ideal substitute to conventional lubricant oil has got yet another stamp of approval from the State Science & Technology Department.

In a letter to G. Rajeevan, an autorikshaw driver based in Cherupuzha bordering the district, the Department said the claims made by him has been certified by the Dean of the ‘Kelappaji College of Agriculture Engineering & Technology’, affirming that coconut oil could be used as an effective alternative to conventional lubricant for small automobile engines.

The letter on behalf of the Ex-Officio Principal Secretary to the State Government on June 26, quoting the Agriculture College, said the use of coconut oil as alternative to conventional lubricants said “there are no adverse effect on the engine parts or in the performance of the petrol engine”.

“They have, therefore, recommended that coconut oil can be used as an alternative to the commercial petroleum lubricant ” in light commercial vehicles, the letter by B. V. Mani, Under Secretary to the Department, stated.

V. N. Rajasekharan Pillai, Ex-Officio Principal Secretary to the State Science & Technology hailing the letter certifying the efficacy of coconut oil said his Department was ready to support the initiative of Mr. Rajeevan, who had been using coconut oil as lubricant for the last 13 years.

“Mr. Rajeevan can now seek support of the automobile manufacturing units to profess his claims supported by relevant certificates in his possession. And the Department will be too happy to come in support of his initiative to help coconut growers of the State find stable and higher market for their produce,” Mr. Pillai told The Hindu over phone.

The fresh development comes after Mr. Rajeevan had sent a report about his innovation to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy who, Mr. Rajeevan said, followed it up with the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment. The institute later referred the matter to the Kerala Agriculture University for its suggestions.

Earlier, the Joint Director, Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment, Thiruvananthapuram had said claims of Mr. G. Rajeevan, a resident of Cherupuzha town, bordering the district, are found to be true and the shift in lubricant is more environmental friendly than the costly conventional petroleum-based lubricant.

The latest affirmation could bring cheer to coconut growers in the State at a time when the Government is extending hefty subsidy to marketing and processing agencies to procure raw coconut in the face of crash in market prices, which is put in the range of Rs. 9 and Rs. 11 at a time when there has been all-round hike in cost of production.