Chief minister Jagadish Shettar has assured that the government will consider reducing value added tax (VAT) on biofuel to 5% from the existing rate of 14%. Inaugurating the Biofuel Mela 2012 in the city on Friday, he said, “I will consult with various departments and see whether we can reduce the VAT to 5%.”
The three-day mela is being organised by the Karnataka State Biofuel Development Board (KSBDB) and will feature several cultural programmes, exhibitions as well as discussions. The inaugural day of the mela also coincided with the International Biodiesel Day, celebrated worldwide on August 10.
Shettar lauded the initiatives of KSBDB and said that such events were necessary to increase the profile and awareness of bio-energy among the general public. “More awareness should exist about bio-energy, because we all need to look at the day when conventional sources of energy might run out. We need to increase the use of biodiesel,” he added.
The chief minister also said that he will consider giving the KSBDB an additional `14 crore to carry on their activities involving farmers. He also announced that a first of its kind bio-energy bunk would be set up in the state. “Currently, nearly 2,000 KSRTC buses are running on blended petrol. For the first time in the country, there will be a bio-diesel outlet in the state,” he added.
Shettar also spoke about the prevailing drought in the state and encouraged farmers to take up crops such as neem and millets like pongamia in the dry areas.
The mela features stalls exhibiting the work done by KSBDB, as well as those put up by private companies working on alternative energy sectors such as solar and wind energy. Students from the National Institute of Engineering have also put up stalls, highlighting the projects they have done on biomass technology.
The final day, on Sunday, will feature a walkathon from Chitrakala Parishad, the venue of the mela, to