Millennium Post

India’s powerless Energy Policy

India’s powerless Energy Policy
‘Duryodhane Soo-Bale Ch Karne Dushasane Tatha Aetash-Vae-Eshwarya-Madhaye katham Twam Bhutam Ichasi’ This is a shlok from Vidur Niti, where Vidur Ji is asking Dhritrashtra that I am very surprised that you wish to hand-over the reins of governance & kingdom to incompetent people like Duryodhan, Shakuni, Karne and Dushasan and are still hoping that there will be progress, peace and justice in the kingdom.

The essence of the shlok is very apt and applicable in the context of present government UPA 1 and 2 , which has de-energized the nation instead of recharging the nation with sustainable energy sources without sacrificing its soveregenity.

It is said a country’s energy policy is a measure of its strength, economic stability, growth and foreign looking policy. Under the UPA regime not only have the resolve of India, its foreign policy, its growth and industrial strength suffered but so has the energy policy framework.

While the world moves towards cleaner, sustainable and renewable fuels, India’s progress has been stunted despite the numerous opportunities and natural resources available to it.

With a population of 1.2 billion, India relies on OPEC countries for an overwhelming 78 per cent of its oil imports.  70 per cent of the total oil imports are from Saudis, Iran, Kuwait, Iraq and the UAE.  Along with all other costs, Indians are made to pay a whopping 65 per cent over the actual price by way of direct and indirect taxes.

At risk is India's ability to bring electricity to 1200 million residents, as well as keep the lights on at industry, corporate office towers and provide enough fuel for 1.5 million new vehicles added to the roads each month. The congress party and its local and foreigners’ support base has ruled India for many decades and is directly responsible for the on going energy crisis.

Shortages of coal, oil and natural gas will require India to import increasing amounts of high-cost fossil fuels, say energy experts, risking inflation and putting the country in further socio-economic meltdown.

Successive Congress-led coalitions have conspired to increase India’s energy dependence on  West Asian countries by discouraging exploration of local resources like solar, geo-thermal and other forms of energy. Any efforts displayed to harness alternate local energies are just an eye wash. Why are lakhs of crores of rupees being siphoned off to West Asian countries by way of such a disgraced energy policy?  In those thousands of years of existence, India never needed to depend on foreign energy.

Therefore, Congress interests in West Asia must be investigated from a perspective of a scam and economic dependence interface. Just as thousands of crores exchange hands in defense deals, how much more does congress gets in keeping India dependant on Saudis, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and such countries. Though even with respect to Iran which gives us crude at a better rate, discount, credit and some exchange in rupees instead of dollars, UPA has changed India’s import policy in a bid to serve other international interests at the cost of Indian interests.

Despite Congress-created road blocks, India’s solar story has just begun, with Gujarat and Tamil Nadu being the front runners. In the context of energy policy and empowerment, these two states have charted exemplary growth and left a hostile UPA government at centre befuddled.

Gujarat accounts for nearly 50 per cent (74 per cent as in April-Aug 2012 as per CEA monthly generation report) of total solar power production in India. India’s first solar park was launched
in Charanka Village in Gujarat in April 2012. Gujarat also has distinction of launching India’s first canal top solar power project – an example of out of the box thinking where even land is not required for installing solar panels.

Tamil Nadu which was recently in the news for signing PPA for more than 700 MW solar powers with various companies. When the plants are up and running Tamil Nadu will have the second largest solar power capacity in India, after Gujarat. Tamil Nadu which was recently in the news for signing PPA for more than 700 MW solar powers with various companies. When the plants are up and running Tamil Nadu will have the second largest solar power capacity in India, after Gujarat. A Forbes report points out that India’s wind energy potential stands at 80,000 MW out of which only 15,000MW has been utilized.

Another state in news about solar power was Kerala but that unfortunately was in context of a solar panel scam in which the Congress party’s CM Omen Chandy is allegedly involved.

A Forbes report points out that India’s wind energy potential stands at 80,000 MW out of which only 15,000MW has been utilized.  Apart from the solar and wind energy potential, there exists a huge reserve of geo-thermal energy within India. Geothermal energy is an enormous, underused heat and power resource that is clean (emits little or no greenhouse gases), reliable (average system availability of 95 per cent), and homegrown (making us less dependent on foreign oil).

Geothermal power plants operated in at least 24 countries in 2010, and were used directly for heat in at least 78 countries. These countries currently have geothermal power plants with a total capacity of 10.7 GW, but 88 per cent of it is generated in just seven countries: the United States, the Philippines, Indonesia, Mexico, Italy, New Zealand, and Iceland.  It is estimated that India has about 10,000 MW of geothermal power potential that can be harnessed for various purposes. Rocks covered on the surface of India ranging in age from more than 4500 million years to the present day are distributed in different geographical units. Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand , J & K and West Bengal  contain huge reserves of geo-thermal resources.

But this regime is just too obsessed keeping the middle east relevant in India’s energy needs . The highlight of Congress Import Facilitation energy policy has been the following:
A much hyped and over advertised civil nuclear deal with USA which till today appears to have achieved nothing except adding something called as ‘cash-for-vote gate’ to the ever increasing tally of UPA scams.

In UK there is a Parliamentary debate about shifting from Uranium to Thorium reactors. It is surprising that India, which has highest Thorium reserves in the world, has chosen to ignore this resource. Though exception being the Thorium scam.

Thorium reactors of very small size which are cost friendly have already been produced by countries like Canada.

The various gas pipeline projects which invariably involved gas moving through Pakistan or Afghanistan or both and predictably non starters while the government bent over backwards to Pakistan on various occasions but could not achieve anything in this regard.

Natural gas exploration and development where the government is under criticism and  flak for its pricing and licensing policies which have kept fluctuating and ultimately added to legal disputes which would take years to resolve and already clogging the system.  For a government which has highly celebrated lawyers and economists as its integral members, writing and executing basic business contracts and avoiding legal disputes in anything they do is just not happening.
Latest being diluting the liability clause apart from compromising the sovereignty of the nation.

As per news reports in first week of September 2013 , Rs. 48 to 60 lakhs  crore worth of precious nuclear fuel Thorium may have been squandered by monazite mining without proper checks and balances.  It is not for the first time that this issue has been raised. In fact we have been raising this issue for more than a year, the same way coalgate was raised for nearly a year or so before the actual scale and scope of the scam came to light and SC intervened.

Another dimension of the India’s energy crisis is the oil mafias operating in congress-NCP state of Maharashtra. According to ASSOCHAM Reports, just diversion of kerosene alone is estimated to be worth over Rs10, 000 crore annually, supplied through PDS for adulteration. An estimated 38.6 per cent of PDS kerosene is diverted to the black market. Powerful individuals formed a cartel and spread their area of operation across the state. Some underworld figures are involved too.

North Maharashtra has been known as a hub for the oil and naphtha mafias. Dhule, Nandurbar, Jalgaon and Manmad have emerged as the main centers of these activities. Because Manmad is home to the largest oil depot in the continent with all major oil companies storing kerosene, petrol and diesel. Malegaon also is a major hub of oil loot. These are areas dominated by congress and NCP and one can imagine, their collusion with Indian Oil (PSU), in engineering the loot
To reduce dependence on foreign energy one needs a nationalist mindset. But here is a party whose very idea of India is blurred with contradictions and confusion. Till such time that congress is not uprooted from India’s socio – political landscape , no relief is expected in these difficult times for Indians.

Those reading this may already be experiencing a feeling of De-ja-Vu where they have seen the PM / PMO coming out with various statements on 2G, coalgate etc. ranging from ‘what was I to do’ or ‘I didn’t know’ or ‘it was not in my knowledge’ or ‘I asked such and such babu and they said it’s fine’. If you are not resolving it, you are part of the problem. Facilitating national loot is as much a crime as doing it directly. Mortgaging fake honesty for fake Gandhi’s or else to say Nehru dynasty’s agenda has serious implications in times to come for India.

The writer is a BJP National Spokesperson
Meenakshi Lekhi

Meenakshi Lekhi

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