The earth Scientists have discovered a natural hot well in the premises of Bhuraram, a resident of Bichardi village of Rajasthan. The temperature of the well in above 58 degree Celsius, even during extreme winter days. This is perhaps the first of its kind well to be reported in the state which is not expected to have such “geothermal” wells , being far from tectonic plates. The well was found, when Bhura was in pursuit of digging a well for irrigating his agricultural fields.
The well is named Nokhra Bera. Far from being happy about this and ignorant of the immense tourism value of the well, Bhura takes this well as a curse because it is an everyday job for him to cool down its hot water to ambient temperature so it is fit to irrigate his fields. For this, the flowing water is collected in a small open cemented tank, from where it hits a wide weir and channeled into a much larger cemented and open tank. Here, the water is allowed to cool down before being released for irrigation.
Precise location of this well is Pali-Beawar state highway, one kilometer right from Rajpur-Jhuta village. Generally, the geothermal wells or the hot springs occur in areas which are near to the tectonic plates of earth. Near these plates, it is easy for magma to reach the upper layer of the earth and heat up the water table present on the top layer. But, if we take Rajasthan, it is far from the tectonic plates, placed on a stable rock. There are no cited evidences of volcanic eruptions in the state as well. Also it is the driest state in the country. Hence finding such a natural hot water well in Rajasthan has surprised the geologists.
Pushpendra Singh Ranawat, retired professor of geology and member of the geo-heritage wing of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), said that “Even the ground water department and members of the Geological Survey of India were not aware of any geothermal well in Rajasthan, so we may take it to be the first in the state.” Geothermal wells release greenhouse gases trapped deep within the earth, but these emissions are much lower per energy unit than those of fossil fuels. Hence, it can be a clean source of energy, of which humanity is in dire need of. The earth’s geothermal resources are theoretically more than adequate to supply humanity’s energy needs, but only a small fraction may be profitably exploited. Geothermal energy plants are basically more cost effective, as the area of land to build such plant on, is usually less expensive than if you were planning to construct an oil, gas, coal, or nuclear power plant.
The running cost of these plants are also very much lower than the fossil fuel ones. India though, has reasonably good potential for geothermal energy. Yet geothermal power projects have not been exploited properly, owing ta a variety of reasons, the chief being the availability of plentiful coal at cheap costs. However, the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has recently drafted a national policy, which seeks to make India a global leader in the sector, generating 1,000 MW in phase-one, ending 2022. Chattisgarh government has already decided to establish the first geothermal power plant in the country at Tattapani in Balrampur district, along with NTPC.
This is the most promising geothermal resource in central India. Being the owner of the property, where the hot spring is situated it can help Bhura in many ways. Being located on the road and near to the Barr and Sandra National Geological Monuments, this site has potential to be an attractive tourist destination and should be promoted under the “Cluster” Scheme. As it is a private property, the owner can be guided to develop it as a destination of interest to tourists, which may generate additional revenue for him. Let’s see now whether the owner makes it a tourist destination or the tourism department of Rajasthan will. Stay tuned for further updates on Geothermal Power Projects.