West Bengal will soon come up with an ethanol production and promotion policy to make the state self-sufficient in rice bran-based ethanol production that has to be blended with petrol and diesel for lowering pollutants from the fossil fuel.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee inaugurating an industrial cluster on 1,500 acres in Panagarh said, the ethanol to be produced from rice bran has high potential and the state expected at least Rs 1,500 crore investment in the sector generating 48,000 jobs in the next five years. “We will procure broken rice from farmers and make the state self-dependent in ethanol production and blending,” Banerjee said.
The Centre has issued a draft notification proposing 12% and 15% ethanol blending in petrol when used as automotive fuel, available as E-12 and E15 respectively. The government had earlier proposed 20% ethanol blending by 2025, which the draft notification following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s guideline has proposed to defer to 2030. India at present blends 8.5% ethanol with motor fuel.
According to Banerjee, the finds of natural oil and gas at Ashoknagar, coal at Deocha Pachami and production of ethanol would change the state’s industrial landscape. She has formed an empowered committee with herself heading it to take full advantage of the rising situation and bring in more investment. “We look forward to fructification of investments worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore in the next five years, while much of Rs 13 lakh crore investments committed in the last Bengal Global Business Summit in 2019 has fructified,” she said.
The state would also come up with a data centre policy very soon, with plans to start with a 400-MW data centre that could attract an investment of Rs 20,000 crore. The 400-MW data centre will initially handle and store data and thereafter move towards advanced application. The data centre will not only cater to West Bengal but would also be of help to neighbouring Bangladesh and Nepal giving a boost to West Bengal’s IT sector housing 1,500 IT firms, Banerjee said.
On Wednesday, she inaugurated the Dhunseri Group’s Rs 400 crore Poly Film unit and ITC’s PSA plant for oxygen manufacturing at the industrial cluster in Panagarh. Another industrial estate was coming up at Raghunathpur, where investments worth Rs 72,000 crore has already been committed. The Deocha Pachami coal block would require an investment of Rs 1,500 crore and generate 1 lakh jobs. The proposed Dankuni-Amritsar freight corridor would run through Raghunathpur and 2,500 acres of land has been acquired for the purpose. Construction work of the deep-sea port at Tajpur would start soon, she said.
According to state industry minister Partha Chatterjee, a request for proposal (RFP) would be shortly floated following responses from The Port of Singapore and DP World against an expression of interest (EOI) floated earlier. The state wants to be a partner in the deep-sea port project.
On the aviation front, the state was in talks with the Centre to transform Andal airport into an international airport. It has budgeted Rs 150 crore for the conversion, Banerjee said.