Skip to main content

Land acquisition for green power? 'Worst decision' by Union govt on environment

By Shankar Sharma* 
This has reference to a news report which says that the Central government is looking for land acquisition for 500 GW green power projects. Only a few days ago, a recent amendment seeking to implement the Time-of-Day (TOD) metering system to optimise the usage of electricity across the country so as to minimise the overall societal level costs, was welcomed as one of the best decisions to be implemented to improve the overall performance of electricity sector in the country in recent years. It was long overdue.

The reported decision the news seeking states to focus on land acquisition to meet 500 GW green power target by 2030, can also be deemed as one of the worst decisions by the Union govt. against the overall interest of the environment and hence our people.
Acquisition of such large chunks of land, running into many thousands of acres in total, cannot make such projects truly green in an overall perspective; especially in the larger context that the decentralised renewal energy (RE) projects such as rooftop Solar PV systems, have humongous potential in our country. They also can overcome many of the chronic issues confronting the power sector today, such as leading to vast reduction in the financial burden of the state, and in minimising the technical and commercial losses in electricity transmission and distribution.
It is deplorable that despite numerous articles, reports, opinion pieces, which have strongly advocated for the widespread usage of rooftop Solar PV systems, the Union govt. has not come out with any policy analysis paper as to why the large size RE projects such as land based solar power parks are being preferred. The keen observers of the power sector tend to associate such a lack of clarity in the case of the Power Ministry with many undesirable vested interest possibilities.
Will RK Singh, Union Minister for Power, urge ask the officials of ministry and the NITI Aayog to diligently consider all these associated issues and issue a diligently prepared policy paper along with a National Energy Policy?
*Power & Climate Policy Analyst. Based on the author's representation to RK Singh, Union Minister for Power, GOI, New Delhi, with copies to Vice-Chairperson, NITI Aayog, Union Finance Minister, Union Minister for EF&CC, and Prime Minister



AMR: A gathering storm that threatens a century of progress in medicine

By Bobby Ramakant*  A strategic roundtable on “Charting a new path forward for global action against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)” was organised at the 77th World Health Assembly or WHA (WHA is the apex decision-making body of the World Health Organization – WHO, which is attended by all countries that are part of the WHO – a United Nations health agency). AMR is among the top-10 global health threats “Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a growing and urgent crisis which is already a leading cause of untimely deaths globally. More than 2 people die of AMR every single minute,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the WHO. “AMR threatens to unwind centuries of progress in human health, animal health, and other sectors.”

New Odia CM's tribal heritage 'sets him apart' from Hindutva Brahminical norms

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Mohan Charan Majhi took the oath as the new Chief Minister of Odisha following the electoral defeat of the BJD led by Naveen Patnaik, who served as Chief Minister for twenty-four years. The new Chief Minister is the son of a security guard and a four-time MLA who hails from the remote village of Raikala in the Keonjhar district. He belongs to the Santali tribe and comes from a working-class family. Such achievements and political mobilities are possible only in a democratic society. Majhi’s leadership even in the form of symbolic representation in a democracy deserves celebration.

What stops Kavach? Why no time to focus on common trains meant for common people?

By Atanu Roy  A goods train rammed into Kanchenjunga Express on 17th June morning in North Bengal. This could have been averted if the time tested anti-collision system (Kavach) was in place. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Ram Teri Ganga Maili: How to maintain ethics in a polluted environment?

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  Is the holy Ganges getting more polluted every day? In addition to daily rituals, bathing, and religious activities performed on its banks, since ancient times, the new age industrial and population pressures are increasingly polluting the holy river. Over the decades a number of government schemes, rules and regulations to purify the Ganges have met with limited success.

Top Punjab Maoist who failed to analyse caste question, promoted economism

By Harsh Thakor*  On June 15th we commemorated the 15th death anniversary of Harbhajan Singh Sohi or HBS, a well known Communist leader in Punjab. He expired of a heart attack in Bathinda in 2009.