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Jatropha makes this man do anything at any cost

May 26, 2008 16:29 IST

Banks denied him funding, the red-tapism and bureaucracy was also of no help. That did not discourage Akshay Vir Singh Tyagi from venturing into Jatropha cultivation seeing the huge potential for biofuels in the coming years.

He has already promoted Jatropha cultivation in 5,500 acres of land in Uttar Pradesh and is aiming high. Tyagi already has invitation to set up projects in Maharashtra.

"Bio-fuel is a necessity now and not a matter of choice or option. Cultivating for bio-fuel production can help create jobs, make use of the wasteland and is an eco friendly venture," according to Akshay Vir Singh Tyagi, proprietor of Delhi-based Aryan Mushrooms and Bio Fuels.

In a chat with Commodity Online at his office in the capital, he lamented on the absence of a structured policy, especially on the funding pattern for bio-fuel industry. The government and private sector should go all out to create a successful bio-fuel revolution in India, Tyagi said.

He said bio-fuels and cultivation of non-food crops like Jatropha offer win-win like situation and the benefits can be reaped for as many as 45 years.

Lot of difficulties faced at the implementation stage has to be solved, especially on granting subsidies to the farmers in encouraging them towards cultivation of non-food crops like Jatropha.

"The mechanism to grant subsidies only on the pre-condition that they will seek bank loans is erroneous at least for the present stage. Instead, what they need is cash-based subsidies as the funding pattern from banks is riddled with many lacunae and bureaucratic hassles," he said.

Tyagi said that his own experience with a public sector bank was disappointing as it summarily turned own its request. He said his experience with another public sector bank was also not good as despite going ahead with the project in December the deal has been


"I am continuing with the project of Jatropha cultivation with an initial investment of Rs 2.5 crore in seven districts of UP. But the bank's involvement has been cut short," he remarked.

Tyagi, however, said having understood the significance of Jatropha cultivation and bio-fuels and as farmers would need due encouragement he is going ahead with the project.

"I started Jatropha cultivation from scratch in 2004-05 and the gestation period is 3-5 years. I am expecting that my first results will be coming only from July-August later this year," he said.

Tyagi said he is already seriously toying with the idea of approaching a premier foreign bank.

Tyagi, who is carrying out Jatropha cultivation and related projects involving around 350 farmers and their land, however, said despite red-tapism and bureaucratic lethargy, the people in general and farmers and the younger generation have already shown fascination towards "these alternative means of energy creation".

"It's most encouraging that even politicians are not lagging behind," he said adding, no politician created any hassle for him in Uttar Pradesh while Shiv Sena MP Tukaram Renge Patil from Parbani in Maharashtra has already invited him to commence a "business model on Jatropha cultivation and bio-fuels" in his constituency. "I am seriously considering the proposal," said

Tyagi, who hails from a agricultural family in Nehtaur town in Bijnaur district in UP, said at present his project is functioning in the districts of Allahabad, Jaunpur, Chitrakut, Pratapgarh, Fatehpur and Bandha.

"Now I have 5500 acres of land under Jatropha cultivation and my aim is to have 1 lakh acre of land spread across many states by 2011," he said.

Corporate houses like Liberty Shoes and Kejriwal Papers are also running his project on a turn-key basis in Chennai and in Bhuj in Gujarat.

Nirendra Dev, Commodity Online