Sunday, 5 August 2012

Power Over Power:

I can SO see it happening.
The rabid and one sided views are starting to raise their voices and soon it will become another ‘good’ reason to cut down remaining forests.
The two days of power outage due to different grid failures created world headlines making it the biggest power outage ever (well, with a population like ours EveryThing will be pretty big numerically! why the hypocritical surprise and shame?). But in the national dailies, there was one small section which for me stood out with a 72 font size effect – the fact that there is a coal deficit in the power sector.  Coal India, Ministry of Power and other mining companies have been saying this for quite some time. But NOW these outages give them a valid reason to push their agenda through by hook or crook (read one such rabid opinion).  I won’t be surprised if it turns out that all this was all done deliberately to prove a point (well, this shows my level of trust with our leaders)
So now I am scared, very scared.
Because the life of my favourite forests of Central and East India is really at stake. These forests are the last of the ancient forests of India and one of the three main watersheds of the country (Satpuda range). The forests here speak to you if only you know how to listen. There is an energy in the land that is so primeval, so raw and so beautiful that it will leave you spellbound.  The tribals and animals who live here are so connected with Earth and nature that you will be envious. Perennial rivers, streams and lakes are so pristine that you will not feel like touching them.
And with coal mining, the forests, wildlife and a water system will all vanish, a seemingly small price to pay if politicians and companies are to be believed.  But it has never been such a simple give and take. We here in India will continue to be served a four times environment whammy due to this. First, increase in air pollution due to burning of coal which releases lots of CO2. Second, it will destroy swathes of virgin forests (prime coal belt) to mine constantly and feed in to the growing demand. Thirdly, the fly ash from burning of coal is toxic and no care is taken to dump them or use them properly leading to health hazards (Fly Ash in India). And fourthly, combustion of coal for power takes up huge amount of water, surface or underground, which ideally means lesser water for people to consume (Water usage).
So, if the forests go, the people will get the much required power but at what cost?
Since the 1972 UN Conference, India has been making policies and laws for sustainable development and all the subsequent Five Year Plans have always had a good environment focus. Yet somewhere down the line, things have taken a turn and now leaders are asking Development or Environment.
It’s time that India sits and thinks long term with middle path cleaner solutions (read solar and wind) rather than going for band-aid symptomatic solutions. We have a lot many children to answer to in future.

But you, my friends can Start Here with Junglistan.


  1. Could not agree more.
    For starters, like concerned, like-minded people, let us make an effort to ensure that our own lifestyles do not provide reasons for cutting down the last trees and mining all the fuel left. Leaving a couple of links to posts on similar themes:

    1. Ankur,

      Yes, thats my motto life ecologically frugally. And sometimes forcing it on my hapless friends too :-))