As told to Parliament (March 17, 2021): Indian Railways eye 20 GW solar power from vacant land by 2030

All that was discussed in the House through the day

By DTE Staff
Published: Thursday 18 March 2021

Indian Railways plans to set up solar energy projects on its unused land, Piyush Goyal, Union minister of railways, commerce and industry, consumer affairs and food and public distribution, told the Lok Sabha on March 17, 2021.

To begin with, it has planned to set up a 3 gigawatts (GW) solar energy projects on the unused land, Goyal told the House.

The target is to scale up to 20 GW of solar energy projects on the vacant land by 2030, Goyal said.

Accidents in mines

The number of accidents in India’s coal mines was higher than the number of accidents in non-coal mines during the last three years, said Pralhad Joshi, Union minister of coal, parliamentary affairs and mines, in Lok Sabha on March 17. He was citing a report by the Union Ministry of Labour and Employment.

Apart from compensation from Coal India Ltd, the additional amount paid to the family of contractual employees who died in mining accidents was raised to Rs 15,00,000 in 2019 from Rs 5,00,000 in 2016, Joshi said. “Eco-friendly surface mines for blast-free mining are being used and accepted risks are avoided,” he added.

Status of salt pans

The salt commissioner’s office has 59,796 acres of salt pan land of which 8,386 acres was declared surplus in 2017, said Som Parkash, Union minister of state for commerce and industry, in Lok Sabha on March 17.

Land not declared surplus is used for salt production and requirements of the salt commissioner’s office. Land declared surplus is available for various public purposes, including the Housing for All by 2022 scheme, the minister said.

A revised master plan of salt pan land in Mumbai was shared by the government of Maharashtra on November 25, 2019, indicating the details of 320.43 acres of developable salt pan land in Mumbai. No further communication was received from the state government, he told the House.

Parkash also admitted that Mumbai and Mumbai Metropolitan Region have approximately 5,379 acres of salt pan lands of which 498 acres is encroached upon.

Ethanol in petrol to increase

The average blending of ethanol in petrol by public sector oil companies was 5 per cent during 2019-20 based on the availability of ethanol in India, Dharmendra Pradhan, Union minister of petroleum and natural gas, said in Rajya Sabha on March 17.

The National Policy on Biofuels notified in 2018 laid out indicative targets of achieving 20 per cent blending of ethanol in petrol and 5 per cent blending of biodiesel in diesel in India by 2030.

Ethanol blending in petrol under the Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme was initially limited to a few states and was extended to whole of India, except islands of Andaman Nicobar and Lakshadweep, from April 1, 2019, Pradhan said.

Unemployment rate

The rate of unemployment of individuals aged 15 years and above is lower among not literates than graduates, according to the Annual Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), 2018-2019. The data was shared by Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Union minister of state (independent charge) for labour and employment, in Rajya Sabha on March 17.

PMAY constructions during pandemic

Construction of 4,332,651 houses have been completed so far under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana–Urban (PMAY-U), said Hardeep Singh Puri, Union minister of state (independent charge) for housing and urban affairs, in Rajya Sabha on March 17.

This includes 1,075,474 houses constructed during the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic (since March 2020), he added.

2,319 solid waste management plants

In India, 95,709.63 tonnes of waste is treated every day, Puri told the Rajya Sabha on March 17.  

He also said 2,319 solid waste management (SWM) plants / facilities operational for scientific disposal of solid waste treatment.

Under Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban), central assistance or grants-in-aids amounting to 35 per cent of the SWM project cost approved by the state high power committee were provided to states and Union territories for implementation of SWM activities, the minister added.

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