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To save energy, agri varsity to install solar power plants

According to reports, in a bid to save energy as well as its finances, Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar Himachal Pradesh Agricultural University (HPAU), Palampur, is contemplating to set up solar power plants on its campus.

With this, HPAU will become the first institution in the state to have solar power plants. Four power plants with total capacity of 200 kW will be set up in the College of Veterinary Sciences, College of Agriculture and College of Home Science.

“We are contemplating to set up solar plants on the university campus and a proposal has been sent to HIMURJA – state’s energy development agency,” said vice-chancellor, HPAU, Krishan Kumar Katoch.

The project will cost around Rs. 1.8 crore. However, the university will have to pay only 10% of the total cost which amounts to Rs. 18 lakh, while the HIMURJA will bear 90% cost of the project.

“Two solar power plants of 75-kW capacity each will be set up in Agriculture College and Veterinary College, while other two plants of 25-kW capacity will be set up in College of Home Science,” said Dr Katoch.

He said the main objective behind setting up the plant was to save electrical energy. “Besides, it will also help the university save finances,” Dr Katoch said, adding that thousands of rupees were spent on electricity bills of constituent colleges every month.

Dr Katoch, who also completed 100 days in the office on Friday, said the process had been initiated to open two new agricultural colleges at Bajaura in Kullu and another at Dhaulakuan in Sirmaur district.

“We have submitted a proposal to the state government and the approval is expected soon as the chief minister has also appreciated the initiative,” said Dr Katoch.  He said it was for the first time, the state government has extended a liberal financial grant of Rs. 18 crore to meet the pending liabilities of several years.

“This was in addition to grant-in-aid of Rs. 1,430 crore and 35.6 crore for Krishi Vigyan Kendras. It has considerably helped the university meet demands of pensioners and other employees,” said Dr Katoch.

He said for expedite research work, 33 projects worth Rs. 4,274.41 lakh had been submitted to various funding agencies while six research projects worth Rs. 246.35 lakh had already been approved.

Under its farmer first approach, the university has directed the eight KVKs to adopt two polyhouses in each block to develop them as model polyhouses, while the university mobile van would visit rural and remote areas for at least 20 days in a month so that the agrarian community could get maximum benefits.

“We are committed to make HPAU a premier institute in the zone for which research and extension services will be strengthened,” said Dr Katoch.

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