Now, the state government has started an effort to produce electricity from the pine needles, locally known as pirul, to reduce their spread in the jungle. It has issued Letters of Award to 21 companies for this purpose, under a policy announced last year. These companies would produce a total of 675 Kw.
So far, 12 agreements have been signed between these companies and the government. Uttarakhand Power Corporation, the state power distribution company, would sign separate power purchase agreements with these companies, to buy electricity at Rs 7.54 a unit, said Chander Singh Bisht.
His company, Bhagirathi Chidh Vidyut Producer, is setting up the biggest pirul plant, at Dunda block of Uttarkashi district with a capacity of 125 Kv.
Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat is taking keen interest in the scheme, noting the potential for both revenue and jobs — the hills are badly hit by the scourge of widespread migration outwards.