CHAMARAJANAGAR: Chairman of Biofuel Task Force Y.B. Ramakrishna has said steps have been taken to plant 4 lakh jatropa saplings in 600 acres of forest area in the district.

Addressing presspersons here on Tuesday, he said that under the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Act, farmers could get Rs. 37 for planting a sapling used to produce biofuel in their land. He said that he intended to release Rs. 50 crore to plant the saplings in the district.

He said that nearly 3 lakh saplings used to produce biofuel had been planted in Davangere district. Mr. Ramakrishna said that his intention was to extend the project to all districts of the State. He said that a demonstration of biodiesel production had been organised at Haradanahalli Krishi Vignan Kendra near here to create awareness among farmers. He said that the actual production of biodiesel from jatropa, neem and other plants started after two months. He said that the same project to produce biodiesel would be taken up in Chickballapur, Chintamani, Bijapur and Gulbarga districts. He said the project was successful in Bangalore, Hassan and Dharwad districts. He said that seeds of the plants used to produce biodiesel could be obtained from Raitha Samparka Kendras at subsidised rates.

Mr. Ramakrishna said that nearly 350 cooperative sanghas were formed in the State.

Earlier, he convened a meeting of officials from the departments of forest, agriculture, watershed. In-charge Deputy Commissioner Yogesh, chief executive officer of the ZP K. Sundar Nayak were present.