India Beyond Coal

Oct 29 2012

Who’s the winner?

With the advancement of technology in our thermal power plants, the number of jobs that are on offer are growing smaller and smaller. It requires less than 50 people to operate a thermal power plant but coal companies keep drumming the opposite beat of providing thousands of jobs in order to acquire precious land. The country is littered with stories of power plants that have come up on the false pretext of providing high quality jobs.

Chattisgargh is one state that is investing a lot of money in tapping into its vast reserves of coal but a recent statement from Chattisgargh’s Chief Minister Raman Singh provides a glimmer of hope. The state has decided to invest 10,000 crores in solar energy to begin a much needed transition away from coal. The chief minister made no bones about the fact that the solar industry has greater potential to create jobs than thermal industry.

A 10 crore investment in solar has the potential to create 500 jobs while a 10,000 crore investment in coal can only generate a meagre 700 jobs. Stating this at a press conference in Raipur, the chief minister embraced the need for development based on clean and environment friendly sources of energy.

Such policies need to be encouraged but of course with a measure of caution. Investment in coal projects have also been going up but that is owing to the lobbying power of coal industry which has grown uncontrollably over the past few decades (the results of which are reflected in the blackouts and the coal scam). But this trend is slowly changing and states like Chattisgargh can pave the way for the country to begin this transition towards a sustainable energy future.

Written by Renuka Saroha