We should not kill our own sheep
Panini Anand, Journalist
IT’S LIKE a house where a family lives. They call it home but they don’t have a kitchen in it. No home cooking. Every meal is ordered. The source of energy is completely dependent on the market. The ownership is in the hands of external agencies. Even the water is bottled in bottling plants outside the city. This family can be defined in one line — a paralysed and fragile family in terms of energy requirements. So are we as a nation. From our domestic energy productions to our research and development for neo and alternative energy sources, we are moving towards a completely paralysed situation.
Since independence, we got rights and facilities as citizens and we are practising them. They are helping us change our socio-political set-ups. But if we look back to our domestic level scientific and technological development, the story is full of mere formalities and shallow efforts.
Although it started well in the period of Nehru and we continued to promote our industrial development, energy development related research works and technical advancements further. But the burial grounds are full with the dead bodies of the creative and innovative scientists. We have never tried to find and promote them. The corruption and interventions of international-level vested interest has forced the ideas to their embryonic deaths. As a state, we never took our scientists and their work seriously as it should have been taken up. The scholars were forced to shift to the West for their experiments with the ideas.
The existing set-ups of our energy sources are also very much dependent on the import of ideas and resources. We can’t ignore the dominance of international agencies, the World Bank and other Western forces in our power projects. They have ‘helped’ us develop the options for energy generation but it has led to more ecological disbalances and damages. We have paid huge costs and suffered big losses in existing power projects, be it the Tehri project in Uttarakhand or the dams on river Narmada.
And the last nail in the coffin is capitalism itself which has not allowed the developing nations like India to do well and move forward in field of sciences. The expenditure on development and research related to the alternative energy sources is very less.
Our energy setups are very much dependent on the import of ideas and resources
The projects are not promoted and taken on board by the governments. The reason is the dominance of petrol-dollar energy market. Now its heading towards nuclear fuel trade, keeping us paralysed for many more coming years. Instead of focussing on healthy and eco-friendly, natural and small, decentralised energy projects, we are switching to the disastrous option of nuclear energy. There are three basic problems with nuclear energy projects: a) the cost of energy generated by these reactors is a very high-cost option, b) Why we want to keep any scope of mishaps like Chernobyl and Fukushima, c) The focus on nuclear energy has reduced the scope of work and focus we need to dedicate on development of alternative energy sources.
The challenges of energy requirement are going to increase day by day. The sooner we understand it, the better. Peeping for the solutions in a West-driven capitalist market is bound to be a foolish and self-damaging attempt. In the past two decades, we have made our own research and development of alternative energy sources more paralysed. It’s surprising that we are killing our own sheep which give us food, wool and other domestic products. We should not have complete dependency on imports and not let the West decide our energy programmes. It’s a very simple line but very tough to follow; if we want to survive and sustain at all.
The views expressed here are the author’s own