Process on to choose supplier for system at Central Prison

In accordance with its policy to tap renewable energy sources to the maximum, Renewable Energy Agency of Puducherry (REAP) has embarked on a programme to install solar steam cooking system in government-run kitchens starting with the Central Prison at Kalapet and the nine central kitchens run by the Education Department.

The process had begun to choose a supplier to install the solar steam cooking system at the Central Prison and it is likely to finalise the bidder for the project in December. If everything went on track, the prison would have the system by March next year.

This would be the first one in Puducherry, outside Auroville, where a solar kitchen has been functioning for the last several years, Project Director of REAP Pankaj Kumar Jha told The Hindu .

Installation of the system at the prison kitchen, which now runs on LPG, would help the government save Rs 2 lakh per annum besides providing a clean environment. The system would be the latest available in the market so as to meet the cooking needs of the jail, which houses around 400 inmates, said Mr Jha, who is also the Inspector General of Police (Prisons).

The procurement and installation cost of the solar steam cooking system would be around Rs 10 lakh to 12 lakh and it can be easily recovered in four to five years, he added

The organisation also planned to install such facilities in all nine central kitchens managed by the Education Department for meeting the requirements of mid day meal scheme.

Food is prepared in these kitchens for around 90,000 students and cost of the project would be around Rs 20 lakh per kitchen, he said, adding that preliminary discussions are on.

The project would be carried out in a phased manner, he added.

In its draft “Renewable Energy Vision-2010 Renewable Energy, Energy Conservation and Energy Efficiency Policy 2011-20 prepared in February this year, the organisation aims to generate at least eight mega watt of additional power through renewable energy source every year. The policy notes that the four regions of the Union Territory are very “close to the equator and the sunshine intensity would be more than the national average.”

Hence there is abundant potential for harnessing solar energy for electricity and other purpose, including cooking, the draft policy said.