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IOC May Acquire Land For Oilseed Cultivation In UP

Public-sector petroleum giant Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., or IOC, is negotiating with the Uttar Pradesh government to acquire 50,000 hectares of wasteland in the Lalitpur area near Jhansi to plant non-edible oilseeds, including jatropha and karanjia, being used for producing biodiesel, Business Standard reports.

IOC Director (Business Development) B.M. Bansal said in New Delhi that the planting would be done partly by his organisation and partly through contract-farming.

Earlier, IOC acquired 2,000 hectares of land in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh and 30,000 hectares of land in Chhattisgarh. It planted saplings in 1,000 hectares of land so far, and aims at planting them in 10,000 hectares of land this year.

IOC has entered into an MoU with the Indian Railways for planting jatropha on railway land.

The Union Cabinet last month approved a national policy on biofuels aimed at implementing 20% blending of biodiesel with diesel and ethanol with petrol (the current rule is 5%) by 2017. Ethanol is being produced by sugar mills from molasses, a byproduct of sugar.

The new policy may offer financial incentives, including subsidies and grants, for the production of biofuels. It also envisages the setting up of a National Biofuel Fund and a National Biofuel Co-ordination Committee headed by the Prime Minister.

The government proposes to announce a minimum support price for such oilseeds, and a minimum purchase price for bioethanol and biodiesel.

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