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Govt urged not to fund bio-fuel programmes

It’s a threat to country’s food security, say activists

Our Bureau

Hyderabad, Dec. 7 A group of farmers, NGOs and intellectuals have called for immediate stoppage of channelising Government funds into schemes and programmes that are aimed at promoting bio-fuels.

Briefing newspersons on the outcome of a national meet held on bio-fuels at Pastapur in Medak district, Mr P.V. Satheesh, Director of Deccan Development Society (DDS), said that the increasing focus on bio-fuels could threaten food security of the country as the effort was aimed at growing crops like jatropha and pongamia.

Challenging the industry-Government argument that these crops were being grown in wastelands, Mr Satheesh said there was no land that was a waste for the farmers. Besides, bio-fuel production is not climate-friendly since the energy needed for the production and processing such fuels far exceeded the energy output.

‘Hell oil’

Jatropha, he said, is considered to be a ‘hell oil’ by the farmers in certain States as it contained ‘allelopathy’ property, harming flora and fauna in the area.

Asking the Government to recognise jatropha as a curse on flora and fauna, he reminded that the bio-fuel crop was considered to be a ‘Pest Bank’, hosting a multitude of pests. “Being carcinogenic, it is also a source of green cancer,” he said.

The whole idea is to benefit the automobile industry and automobile users, he said.

Demands

The two-day meeting demanded that the government halt targets for conversion to fuel blending schemes until genuine research on fuel efficiency was done.

It also opposed conversion of land use that would cause displacement of people. “Food and fibre crops should neither be used for fuel purposes nor be displaced from agriculture,” they demanded.

The participants included representatives from Jharkhond Mines Area Coordination Committee, Jharkhandi Organisation Against Radiation, Shetkari Sangathana and Bharatiya Krishak Samaj.

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