Source : ttp:// This article showcases the successful establishment of cluster level biodiesel resource centres catering to rural energy demands and the creation of livelihood opportunities in over 70 villages in Raigad district of Maharashtra, India. Central to this initiative has been the ongoing experiences with communities who collect and sell seeds of the indigenous tree Pongamia pinnata. A combination of widespread awareness and promotion, technology development and demonstration, training and marketing are essential factors for success. Important to this initiative has been the notion of using the already existing (but neglected) resources rather than cultivation of any biofuel crop which needs large scale resources. Growing energy needs, coupled with fluctuating international oil prices, are forcing India to tap into renewable energy resources to address the energy crisis. The Government of India launched a national programme to promote the large scale cultivation of the plants Jatropha curcas and Pongamia pinnata for biodiesel production. However, the programmes are long term and need time to reach the farmers in remote areas. In addition, the current subsidy provisions for: kerosene to those below the poverty line; diesel to fishermen; and electricity at subsidised or free cost to farmers for irrigation, are faced with inefficient public distribution systems leading to widespread shortage of energy resources in rural areas.
Successful utilisation of indigenous bioenergy resources for economic advancement in rural Maharashtra, India
by Kavita Rai, Jayant Sarnaik, India Environment Portal, 01 February, 2009